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"They"
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saxifrage00
Hah! According to this article entitled, “Wears Jump Suit. Sensible Shoes. Uses Husband’s Last Name.” (as stolen from breklor), “they” was the correct singular sex-indefinite pronoun in English since at least the middle ages. Apparently, misogynist grammarians in the 18th and 19th centuries declared “he” as the singular sex-indefinite pronoun, and we’ve been trying to recover ever since.

So for all you that abhor “they” in English writing, thppt. Well, except for in formal English writing—that’s still abominable.

But apart from all that, the article is very interesting (and a short read, too).

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Wow, I had no idea -- I'll give that a read as soon as I'm done work (45 mins and counting.....)

A much longer page: Everybody loves their Jane Austen.

Actually, Victorian grammarians would have pointed to Latin, where homo does cover both "a man" and "a person of indefinite gender". To them it would be a given that Latin was better than English. Fixing one's English usage was like dieting in the Victorian world. Consequently many dubious rules were invented in that period.

But I guess sexism plays a part here, in making the idea seem natural. They didn't adopt every difference from Latin.

Some more info on it here, down at the bottom.

Huh. Well, that answers a question I've been thinking about for a while. They is too much a plural for me, perhaps, so if we could add just one formal one for the singular and have it only be used in that situation, I'd be all for it.

Good article, too.

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