Re. (Groan...) Gender neutral pronouns

Subject: Re. (Groan...) Gender neutral pronouns
From: Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 1995 12:48:43 LCL

I don't recall if anyone suggested this, but I'm sure I've
seen "a" used somewhere as the universal s/he substitute.
(Shakespearian English? Victorian? Qui sais?) This wouldn't
be any more awkward than "s/he" or the other alternatives
proposed, since it at least has a track record. Of course,
those of you from the deep south may have trouble
pronouncing this so it's distinguishable from "I". <grin>

But I reiterate my earlier point: the "generic he"
demonstrably offends some readers, many of whom have said
so here in this forum. Have we the right to knowingly
offend a significant portion of our audience? Even if we
consider this to be our right, does this attitude translate
well to the rest of our writing? I'd vote no in both cases,
particularly given how easy it is to write around the
problem in the first place without invoking any neologisms.

BTW, if anyone tried to contact me directly over the past
week, our internet gateway just came back up, so please try
again. ("What? Computers crash?" a asked.)

--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Disclaimer: If I didn't commit it in print in one of our
reports, it don't represent FERIC's opinion.

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