Things That I Hate

Lack of a Gender-Neutral Pronoun

“Tell him to enter his password” assumes the person is male. “Tell them to enter their password” means two or more people who share a password should enter it together. “Tell it to enter its password” implies the person is not a person at all. “Tell him/her to enter his/her password” is obscenely long to write and read. Why can’t we have a simple one-syllable gender-neutral pronoun?

  • #1029
  • 2 comments
  • score: 139+/51−
  • agree
  • disagree

Comments

  1. The problem with most existing gender neutral pronouns—(s)he, he/she, xe, zhe, thon—is that they just sound so stupid. In terms of words like “mankind”, I don’t mind it like it is, because it’s using “man” as the species, not the gender.

    • by Jonathan
    • 18 August 2010, 6:49 AM
  2. Actually “it” is the word you’re thinking of. It only sounds strange to you because (a) you’re not used to it and (b) most singular people have easily discernible genders. Either use “it” (and risk sounding a bit dangerous) or forgo pronouns (“that person”, etc.).

    • by Patrick
    • 21 August 2010, 6:57 AM

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