I've been thinking about gender neutral pronouns and nouns that encompass "humankind".
We have no pronoun that fits the bill when we want to talk about someone whose gender is unknown to us.
- Did the writer do HIS job in telling the story?
- Did the doctor complete HER rounds this morning?
- Does the artist convey HIS/HER message clearly?
- The student seems puzzled. Does s/he understand the problem presented?
It seems awkward to say "he or she" when referring to a person of unknown gender, but it still seems gramatically incorrect to use "they" when only one person or being is being talked about.
We have changed how we talk about roles in today's world. For the most part the change is comfortable once one gets used to it.
"Hero" now means anyone--male or female--who does a heroic act. The word "heroine" today conveys a degree of helplessness that doesn't give the impression of taking charge.
Mail carriers has replaces the term "mailman" and fire fighters has replaced the term "fireman".
Waitperson seems to be preferred over waiter or waitress; Flight attendent over stewardess or steward.
Actor now means anyone who acts. The term "actress" is out-of-style.
Maybe I should refer to my novel as HERstoric fiction.
Your comments are always welcome. Comment here or send me an email at