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Do we need a neutral third person singular personal pronoun?

Before new words are created, they should be needed. English is tough enough without adding to the complex collection of words unnecessarily. Who needs a neutral third person singular personal pronoun? 

People in business often communicate with others whose gender is unknown. A business letter or memo may refer to the president of the company. If the gender of the president is unknown, the writer must use "he or she". If the writer is correct with a guess and uses only "he" or "she", it may go unnoticed. If wrong, it will be noticed and likely criticized. In reference to a secretary, clerk, agent, director, or supervisor, a neutral pronoun would be better than a guess or improper gender pronoun. 

Some people have gender ambivalent names like Pat, Les, or Robin. Some names have foreign or unique derivations that make gender impossible to guess. Some people use just their initials like C.W. or R.J. A neutral third person singular personal pronoun could refer to them without offence or embarrassment. Using a neutral personal pronoun will not impress anyone with your familiarity of the antecedent or subject, but it could totally avoid the embarrassment of referring to the wrong gender. 

Soldiers were once thought to be only male, even though females have fought and died as soldiers from the first wars. Even today, soldiers are referred to using masculine pronouns. When a single soldier is referenced, "he" is often used when it could be "he or she". 

There was a time when the gender of the Almighty was accepted fact. Zeus, Jupiter, and Thor are all male gods. The third person singular personal pronouns referring to them are he, his, him, and himself. Aphrodite, Helena, and Hera are all female and take the pronouns she, her, hers, her, and herself. Today, modern religions are often vague on the gender of the Supreme Being and often use the pronouns "he, his, and himself", much to the dismay of many followers who desire equality of the sexes. 

A neutral third person singular personal pronoun would diminish the debate over whether or not God is male or female. 

The gender of a cow is always female. Bulls are always male. Male lions usually have a mane. Stallions are usually obvious by the size of their neck or temperament. However, the visual difference in genders for the majority of animals is not always so obvious, especially in young undeveloped creatures. 

Male kittens are often mistaken for female kittens. Few experts can differentiate the genders of day old chicks. It can be difficult to distinguish the gender of a long-haired dog or cat without looking closely. 

A neutral third person singular personal would benefit anyone in the animal world who regularly talks or writes about animals. In referring to a family pet, the pronoun "it" may imply inanimate qualities that could offend the owner. A neutral pronoun would eliminate guessing the wrong gender and avoid the appearance of ignorance or apathy. 

Some prospective parents do not want to know the gender of a child before it is born. A new neutral third person singular personal pronoun could be used to refer to the fetus before birth or until the gender has been announced. 

How much time and ink could be saved by using one word rather than two or three to refer back to an antecedent? Writers and speakers sometimes explain their choice of using he or she or alternate between the two when writing or speaking to mixed groups. Even with an apology to the other gender, use of one gender over another can be distracting and insulting to an audience. 

Quotations could be simplified. His or her could be replaced by a single neutral third person singular personal pronoun. 

We all walk in the dark and each of us must learn to turn on his or her own light. 
                                                                                                                       ~ Earl Nightingale ~ 

Although old quotations may not be changed, new quotations would not have to use the masculine third person singular personal pronoun that might exclude the female gender from a statement. 

The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.       

                                                                                                                                                          ~Benjamin Disraeli ~



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