On 09/22/2015 06:17 AM, Geoff Winkless wrote:
On 22 September 2015 at 10:52, Gavin Flower <gavinflo...@archidevsys.co.nz <mailto:gavinflo...@archidevsys.co.nz>>wrote:

    On 22/09/15 21:33, Geoff Winkless wrote:

        ​ ​
        Without wanting to get into a grammar war, ​I'm not so sure I
        agree that it "condones" it. Dictionaries reflect the current
        state of usage, they don't act as arbiters of correctness. The
        abuse of "literally" as an emphasiser (which usage is now
        listed in the OED) is a prime example.

        I would prefer "his or her" over "their". Perhaps our American
        cousins might disagree though.

    I prefer "their" rather than "his or her", it is less clumsy &
    there is no point in specifying gender unless it is relevant!

I agree in that I prefer "their" in informal speech; however in a formal document I would find it sloppy.​ I don't think "his or her" is inherently clumsy; m
aybe I'm just showing my age.​

    Besides, some people are neither, or their biological gender is
    ambiguous - so a few people fit into neither the male nor the
    female category (depending on precise definitions, about 0.5%)!

My understanding is that most intersex (and certainly all trans) people would identify with one or the other, and even those who don't select exclusively identify with a mix of both (and would therefore still be covered by "his or her", no?) although I don't pretend to be an expert.

Perhaps it would be easier to avoid the controversy by actually rewording into the plural, where possible?


"any user can make such a change for his session."


"Users can make such a change for their individual sessions"

or similar?

You are fighting a losing battle. Think of they/them/their/theirs as being indefinitely gendered third person singular pronouns, as well as being third person plural pronouns. Yes it's a relatively new usage, but I don't think its at all unreasonable (speaking as someone who has been known to dislike some new usages and neologisms). It's not at all sloppy. On the contrary, it's quite deliberate. It's just not quite traditional. You need to get over that.

Your proposed style would make writing docs a lot harder, forcing us to avoid use of the singular in cases where it is quite natural. I'm strongly opposed to such a style rule.



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