Re: He/she

Subject: Re: He/she
From: Nancy Hayes <nancyh -at- PMAFIRE -dot- INEL -dot- GOV>
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 1994 17:36:03 GMT

RE: Sandy's (?) ALL CAP posting on the use of default "he"

I may be misinterpreting the post, but it seemed like this post
was a defence of the generic "he". At least in my neck of .gov,
the use of the generic "he" sends our Legal Dept. into fits.
Our style guide recommends "he or she" as the construction. Our
new management has been using "s/he" in informal communications.

So, alternatives to the generic "he" or "she" include:

1. "he or she"
2. "s/he"
3. "they" as a singular (there's a whole thread on the acceptablity
of this option--including quotes from the OED where it was
used in (I think) the 1500s.)
4. Recasting the sentence to avoid the pronoun.

As far as gender-related pronouns not affecting the language,
what about the time Delta had the socks sued off them because
the "stewards" were making more money than the "stewardesses"?

One last comment: Please turn the volume down, Sandy. Shouting
usually doesn't win the arguement--and ALL CAPS is probably
one of the more difficult types of print to read.

Nancy Hayes (nancyh -at- pmafire -dot- inel -dot- gov)

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