On Tue, Sep 22, 2015 at 2:33 PM, Andrew Dunstan <and...@dunslane.net> wrote:
> Good point. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was deemed by some grammarians
> to be incorrect for some reason, (and yet Thackeray still used it in Vanity
> Fair, for instance) and now some reactionaries and misogynists are fighting
> to maintain that somewhat latter day rule. But I'm pretty certain their
> numbers will dwindle, as they preach to an ever shrinking choir.

I agree that this construction is grammatically acceptable in many if
not all cases, but I still think that phrasing the sentences to avoid
this construction is a good idea where we can do it easily.  For
example, this is clearly a good idea:

     So the database administrator can
     decide which languages are available in which databases and can make
-    some languages available by default if he chooses.
+    some languages available by default if desired.

And so is this, which just gets rid of a sentence that really isn't needed:

     Possibly, your site administrator has already created a database
-    for your use.  He should have told you what the name of your
-    database is.  In that case you can omit this step and skip ahead
+    for your use.  In that case you can omit this step and skip ahead
     to the next section.

But consider this one:

-    return any user name he chooses. This authentication method is
+    return any user name they choose. This authentication method is

You could say "any arbitrary user name" or "any username whatsoever".

Or here:

       or within a session via the <command>SET</> command.  Any user is
-      allowed to change his session-local value.  Changes in
+      allowed to change their session-local value.  Changes in

You could say "This requires no special privileges".  This isn't
really an exact rewrite of the sentence, but in context it means the
same thing.

Or here:

-        -- Who works for us when she must pay for it?
+        -- Who works for us when they must pay for it?

You could say "-- We pay employees; they don't pay us."

I don't think any of these changes are outright wrong except for
"might not be the same as the database user that is to be connect as",
which seems like a muddle.  But I think some of them could be changed
to use other wording that would read more smoothly.

Of course, that is just my opinion, and I clearly feel a lot less
strongly about this than some other people.

Robert Haas
EnterpriseDB: http://www.enterprisedb.com
The Enterprise PostgreSQL Company

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