He or she. An awkward but useful word, given that standard English has no gender-nonspecific pronoun for animate beasties. (The neuter pronoun "it" is only used for inanimate objects.)

Used when referring to an arbitrary person or animal who may be of either sex.

S/he is less awkward than his/hers or him-/her-self, as it can actually be pronounced as a word: sh'he (like Hawai'i). However, there has got to be a better way then to resort to nonsense words or nonsense plurals with "they." I say we just come up with a good set of pronouns and apply it to everyone, regardless of sex/gender.

I heartily disagree with datajack. I use this expression whenever I'm writing and have to use a third-person subject pronoun where the gender of the subject is unknown or irrelevant or, most often, both. It works well in writing because you don't have to read it aloud and it even if you do have the reading style where you pronounce words to yourself, it's still okay since it's pronouncable. It avoids sexism, using plurals for singulars, and other problems.

Ideath, that's a great idea, but engineering a language like that seldom works - ask the French.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.