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Stahlseele
something just registered to me after snooping through unwired:
since when and why the hell are almost if not all references to a character suddenly female?
for example:"Trodes allow a user to access VR without the invasiveness of cyberware, allowing an adept to keep HER Magic rating intact."
i'd say this is done in about 90% of all cases like this one . .
i ain't pro or contra, i just wanna know freaking why the frag . .
Dumori
Yeah doesn't the fount few pages of unwired still have the we use he only to simplify the writing disclaimer?
edit
Nope not in unwired just checked
coolgrafix
a) chicks are cool
b) maybe the text is left over from an older edition where she was the pronoun of choice, and the editors missed it
c) maybe the writer used he and the editor, perhaps working on his/her (har) first SR4 piece wasn't up on the new guidelines
d) maybe the whole thing is a house of cards with no direction, guidance, or future

I think it's "a" above. =)
Kingboy
Because somewhere in the 90's the population at large apparently forgot about the existence of gender neutral pronouns. Couple that with the idiotic excesses of PCness and you get dumb crap like the AFMBE books (which I otherwise generally like) where they switch between he/she each chapter in order to appear "balanced".

The example you stated above can quite easily be written "Trodes allow a user to access VR without the invasiveness of cyberware, allowing an adept to keep their Magic rating intact."
hyzmarca
Actually, it's because the vast majority of RPG player characters in all systems and settings are lesbian females in improbably revealing armor.
Stahlseele
which is 2 letters longer than her and his and if you have enough of those left overs they make up enough space for a whole paragraph, so THAT particular word is unlikely to be used . .
but still, i would like the switching between female and male every chapter better . . and check out other SR4 books, in most cases it's female pronoun . .
Tiger Eyes
QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Jun 26 2008, 06:58 PM) *
since when and why the hell are almost if not all references to a character suddenly female?
for example:"Trodes allow a user to access VR without the invasiveness of cyberware, allowing an adept to keep HER Magic rating intact."
i'd say this is done in about 90% of all cases like this one . .


A quick PDF search for instances of "he" vs "she" & "his" vs "her" shows:

He=277 / His= 267
She= 223 / Her = 230

Of course, I didn't weed out in-character fiction, which obviously accounts for some of that. But I think that the male pronoun is still dominant in Unwired. Stahlseele, you can rest safely now, we women are not overtaking SR. Yet. love.gif
Kingboy
Content does not implicitly dictate typography. It supplies constraints that must be worked with, yes. The simple substitution of their/they/etc for he/she is not going to make it so that a skilled typesetter is forced to suddenly add a strangely placed extra page every chapter or two. That argument is akin to saying we should all use mobile phone texting abbreviations for all internet communications because it takes less letters, therfore using less bandwidth, allowing us to communicate "faster".

Of course that is predicated on the idea that the books are layed out by a skilled typesetter, which practically none of the SR4 books show any sign of, as evinced by nearly all of the gear charts. I do so love having to track down whether the description of an item I am looking at is several pages before or after the chart I am looking at before fully knowing what it does...
Stahlseele
. . damn, i really forgot about there being the option of searching for a certain word in pdf files o.o
time for me to hit the hay i think x.x . .
dionysus
QUOTE (Kingboy @ Jun 26 2008, 06:17 PM) *
Because somewhere in the 90's the population at large apparently forgot about the existence of gender neutral pronouns. Couple that with the idiotic excesses of PCness and you get dumb crap like the AFMBE books (which I otherwise generally like) where they switch between he/she each chapter in order to appear "balanced".

The example you stated above can quite easily be written "Trodes allow a user to access VR without the invasiveness of cyberware, allowing an adept to keep their Magic rating intact."

I don't mean to be a grammar nazi, but I've been corrected on this before myself. "They" and its ilk are plural pronouns, and aren't AFAIK universally accepted as correct grammar when referring to a single person. The simple fact is that English has no singluar, third-person gender-neutral pronouns. (if there are those who know more of grammar than I do, please correct me).
Larme
Dionysus is right. It is technically incorrect to refer to one person as "they." The devs would need to make everything plural. Instead of "when a runner does X, he..." they would need to say "when runners do X, they..." And referring to characters collectively is just not part of the RPG lingo. By nature of the system, characters don't act collectively, they act one at a time. So why refer to them plurally? Is gender neutrality something inherently useful? I can't see why.

Proper grammar dictates that when you're referring to a single person of indeterminate gender, you pick 'he' or 'she.' It really doesn't matter which one you pick. I think it's popular among progressive people to use "she" because "he" was the default for a long long time. But if anyone cares, they need to get a hobby. Or, if their hobby is Shadowrun, they need to play more Shadowrun and do less quibbling over grammar.
hyzmarca
QUOTE (dionysus @ Jun 26 2008, 07:46 PM) *
I don't mean to be a grammar nazi, but I've been corrected on this before myself. "They" and its ilk are plural pronouns, and aren't AFAIK universally accepted as correct grammar when referring to a single person. The simple fact is that English has no singluar, third-person gender-neutral pronouns. (if there are those who know more of grammar than I do, please correct me).


There's 'yo'. It's a single-person gender neutral pronoun.
Dumori
There's hir but I'm unsure if its in wide enough use for a published book.
Jackstand
QUOTE (dionysus @ Jun 26 2008, 06:46 PM) *
I don't mean to be a grammar nazi, but I've been corrected on this before myself. "They" and its ilk are plural pronouns, and aren't AFAIK universally accepted as correct grammar when referring to a single person. The simple fact is that English has no singluar, third-person gender-neutral pronouns. (if there are those who know more of grammar than I do, please correct me).


'It.' 'It' is a singular, third-person, gender-neutral pronoun. nyahnyah.gif You generally don't use it for a person, but you certainly could. Still, it's better than 'Ze,' which some people will put forward.
hyzmarca
QUOTE (Dumori @ Jun 26 2008, 08:11 PM) *
There's hir but I'm unsure if its in wide enough use for a published book.


Hir and shi aren't gender neutral; they refer to true hermaphrodites.
Dumori
true but they could be use for a none exsitant PC.
Jackstand
They're just as bad as 'Ze,' though. Seriously. It's an assault on language!
Heath Robinson
QUOTE (Jackstand @ Jun 27 2008, 02:11 AM) *
Still, it's better than 'Ze,' which some people will put forward.

QUOTE (Jackstand @ Jun 27 2008, 02:21 AM) *
They're just as bad as 'Ze,' though. Seriously. It's an assault on language!

I wonder as to the intent behind selecting that as a gender-neutral pronoun ~ze.

No, don't worry about it. It is, as you no doubt suspect, a crappy inside joke.
Dumori
so are many words in use. Like a word for each prong on a deer's antler is needed. Words are needed for a lot of stuff some just sound so bad I'd never use them ze, hir, shi and moneys are a few on my list. Where would we be with out words some people dislike?
Lebo77

Edit: Removed for total redundancy. I should learn to read the rest of the darn thread.
Chrysalis
QUOTE
They, them, their, theirs, are often used in referring back to singular pronominals (as each, one, anybody, everybody), or to singular nouns or phrases (as a parent, neither Jack nor Jill), of which the doubtful or double gender causes awkwardness. It is a real deficiency in English that we have no pronoun, like the French soi, son, to stand for him-or-her, his-or-her (for he-or-she French is no better off than English). Our view, though we admit it to be disputable, is clear—that they, their, &c., should never be resorted to, as in the examples presently to be given they are. With a view to avoiding them, it should be observed that (a) the possessive of one (indefinite pronoun) is one's, and that of one (numeral pronoun) is either his, or her, or its (One does not forget one's own name: I saw one of them drop his cigar, her muff, or its leaves); (b) he, his, him, may generally be allowed to stand for the common gender; the particular aversion shown to them by Miss Ferrier in the examples may be referred to her sex; and, ungallant as it may seem, we shall probably persist in refusing women their due here as stubbornly as Englishmen continue to offend the Scots by saying England instead of Britain. © Sentences may however easily be constructed (Neither John nor Mary knew his own mind) in which his is undeniably awkward. The solution is then what we so often recommend, to do a little exercise in paraphrase (John and Mary were alike irresolute, for instance). (d) Where legal precision is really necessary, he or she may be written in full. Corrections according to these rules will be appended in brackets to the examples.

Anybody else who have only themselves in view.—Richardson. (has ... himself)

Ce n'est que le premier pas qui coûte, in novel-writing as in carrying one's head in their hand.—S. Ferrier. (one's ... one's)

The feelings of the parent upon committing the cherished object of their cares and affections to the stormy sea of life.—S. Ferrier. (his)

But he never allowed one to feel their own deficiencies, for he never appeared to be aware of them himself—S. Ferrier. (one's)

A difference of opinion which leaves each free to act according to their own feelings.—S. Ferrier. (his)

Suppose each of us try our hands at it.—S. Ferrier. (tries his hand; or, if all of us are women, tries her hand)

Everybody is discontented with their lot in life.—Beaconsfield. (his)

Fowler, King's English, 1908


Stylistically using one continuously becomes wearisome and confusing, for that reason he as the gender neutral pronoun has continued to be used. With the rise of the politically correct, several alternatives have been given which have ranged from the ludicrous to downright strange. A more comprehensive and funnier rendition of gender pronouns can be found in the introduction of the Cyberpunk Handbook.

The one which has been settled on is that of rephrasing to avoid gender and bias and the use of he/she, his/her in places where rephrasing is either impossible or cumbersome.

In roleplaying games the issue of gender non-neutrality of the third person pronoun was addressed in D&D third edition where he and she were used in each paragraph separately. It became such an editorial problem of switching between the two that in later books the pronouns were used interchangeably causing some confusion as to the subject's gender as it would often change between sentences, leading to the natural assumption of a possible subject change as well.

The new version of D&D, fourth edition, sidesteps this entire debate by using the second person accusative form you.

Personally, I find it all strangely fascinating.
Wounded Ronin
QUOTE (Kingboy @ Jun 26 2008, 07:17 PM) *
The example you stated above can quite easily be written "Trodes allow a user to access VR without the invasiveness of cyberware, allowing an adept to keep their Magic rating intact."


According to my high school grammar textbook that's actually incorrect. It would be correct, albeit clunky, to say, "...allowing an adept to keep his or her Magic rating intact."
hyzmarca
QUOTE (Chrysalis @ Jun 26 2008, 11:15 PM) *
In roleplaying games the issue of gender non-neutrality of the third person pronoun was addressed in D&D third edition where he and she were used in each paragraph separately. It became such an editorial problem of switching between the two that in later books the pronouns were used interchangeably causing some confusion as to the subject's gender as it would often change between sentences, leading to the natural assumption of a possible subject change as well.


Given potential results on the Wild Magic table, it is quite possible for random mid-paragraph gender changes to be factually correct in regards to certain editions of D&D.
Wounded Ronin
Hyzmarca wins this thread.
Jackstand
QUOTE (Chrysalis @ Jun 26 2008, 11:15 PM) *
The new version of D&D, fourth edition, sidesteps this entire debate by using the second person accusative form you.


'You' is actually nominative, too, mind you. nyahnyah.gif
Chrysalis
You (stressed /jü/; unstressed [jə]) is the second-person personal pronoun in Modern English. Ye was the original nominative form; the oblique/objective form is you (functioning originally as both accusative and dative), and the possessive is your or yours.

The form used in the fourth edition of D&D is the accusative.
Fleinhoy
Well, in many gamers' minds just mentioning DnD will have you accused of a great many things, and possibly strung up. Oh, no. Now I just did it myself. wink.gif

But seriously.

The first time I noticed this was in 3rd ed of just that game.

I put it down to overdone PCness, related to what happened in many video games at the time: being dead scared of having accusations of sexism thrown at them the developers went too far the other way and made female character hard as coffin nails compared to their male counterparts.
Lofwyr's masseuse
We notice "she" more because male as default is...well, default. I know I do it, even though you would think I would assume myself, eg female, but no. I don't think using female pronouns is overly PC. If they felt like they had to write, "by the way, GIRLS can do this too! You know those GIRL SHADOWRUNNERS?" OK, that would be. But honestly, as a player it's nice to have a game which tacitly acknowledges your existence. I know this is going to be shot down by people saying there aren't enough women RPGers for it to be important, but too bad, it's true. smile.gif
Fleinhoy
I didn't say I agreed in the, rather warped, logic, I said it was a trend I particularly noticed at the time. Then again: in the case of video games, these were mostly Japanese and it could be just the deep seated desire for japanese geeks to be beaten up by a girl... wink.gif

When that's said, I agree 100% that you notice the "she" more because "he" has a long tradition of being considdered the default.

Larme
Yet another blow against the man-o-centric maleocracy! spin.gif

(Bonus nuyen.gif if you name the reference. I'll send your GM a voucher!)
WhiteWolf
Traditional Inclusive Generic Pronoun

This is a well formed argument to combat the idiotic use of using “he/she? found in a book by Peter Kreeft.
QUOTE

The use of the traditional inclusive generic pronoun “he? is a decision of language, not of gender justice. There are only six alternatives.
  1. We could use the grammatically-misleading and numerically-incorrect “they.? But when we say “one baby was healthier than the others because they didn’t drink that milk,? we do not know whether the antecedent of “they? is “one? or “others,? so we don’t know whether to give or take away the milk. Such language codes could be dangerous to baby’s health.
  2. Another alternative is the politically-intrusive “in-your-face? generic “she,? which I would probably use if I were an angry, politically-intrusive, in-your-face woman, but I am not any of those things.
  3. Changing “he? to “he or she? refutes itself in such comically clumsy and ugly revisions as the following: “What does it profit a man or woman if he or she gain the whole world but lose his or her own soul? Or what shall a man or woman give in exchange for his or her soul?? The answer is: he or she will give up his or her linguistic sanity.
  4. We could also be both intrusive and clumsy by saying “she or he.?
  5. Or we could use the neuter “it,? which is both dehumanizing and inaccurate.
  6. Or we could combine all the linguistic garbage together and use “she or he or it,? which, abbreviated, would sound like “sh…it.?

I believe in the equal intelligence and value of women, but no in the intelligence or value of “political correctness,? linguistic ugliness, grammatical inaccuracy, conceptual confusion, or dehumanizing pronouns.


- Socratic Logic: A Logic Text Using Socratic Method, Platonic Questions, and Aristotelian Principles by Peter Kreeft (p. 36, 2ed)


After I had read this little argument/statement I realized how stupid I was to try and use both or either one, so now I always use "he" and should a debate occur I bring this argument up and leave it at that. Understand it wasn't until the 1990s that we started substituting proper grammar for political correctness. We have chosen someone's feelings over a proper education; the irony is in order to salvage the feelings of one group we have crushed the feelings of another. Extremist never seem to realize that.
dionysus
QUOTE (WhiteWolf @ Jun 27 2008, 11:07 AM) *
Another alternative is the politically-intrusive “in-your-face? generic “she,? which I would probably use if I were an angry, politically-intrusive, in-your-face woman, but I am not any of those things.

I think it's a little harsh to label the substitution of "she" for "he" as a generic as "angry, politically-intrusive [or] in-your-face." If "he" is grammatically acceptable, why *not* "she?" Just because we've never done it that way. Oh yes, of course. How terrible for a language to evolve to reflect social norms.

I mean, yes, if someone's insisting that you use "she" exclusively, then that's a little grammar-fascist. But so is insisting on "he," really...they're both equally non-neutral.
Ed_209a
Darn PC movement.

I think we can guess at the demographics of Shadowrunners by looking at the modern day demographics of criminals and mercenaries. I don't have the numbers, but I would be very surprised if both weren't at least 75% male.

In short, most pronouns should be male, because most 'runners are.

That said, if there were a text referencing a career whose demographic is largely female, then certainly, the pronouns should be too.

Edit: It looks like this thread was a lot less politicized than I first thought. Sorry 'bout that. I am stepping off my soapbox now, no sudden movements...
dionysus
Yes, but the point isn't to give teh w1n to the majority, it's to be as grammatically gender-neutral as possible.

Of course, anyone who thinks this is the front line in the battle for gender equality has a distorted sense of proportion. I think it's just that some people would really like a gender-neutral pronoun appropriate for use on humans. (and no animal testing.... twirl.gif )
WhiteWolf
QUOTE (dionysus @ Jun 27 2008, 09:50 AM) *
I think it's a little harsh to label the substitution of "she" for "he" as a generic as "angry, politically-intrusive [or] in-your-face." If "he" is grammatically acceptable, why *not* "she?" Just because we've never done it that way. Oh yes, of course. How terrible for a language to evolve to reflect social norms.


The people in the 90s that were "angry, politically-intrusive [or] in-your-face" women. They were the ones that complained if a man opened the door for a woman, commented on how nice she looked, offered to lift something that "appeared" to be heavy, etc. The "angry" women were the ones who pushed for the political correctness and dumped education.


QUOTE (dionysus @ Jun 27 2008, 09:50 AM) *
I mean, yes, if someone's insisting that you use "she" exclusively, then that's a little grammar-fascist. But so is insisting on "he," really...they're both equally non-neutral.

I'll quote the first and last sentence of his statement to show you partially why we use the pronoun "he" instead of "she."

"The use of the traditional inclusive generic pronoun "he" is a decision of language, not of gender justice."

and

"I believe in the equal intelligence and value of women, but no in the intelligence or value of "political correctness," linguistic ugliness, grammatical inaccuracy, conceptual confusion, or dehumanizing pronouns."


The word "man" is general neutral depending on the context it is used in; such as man-kind, humanity.

Honestly if you want to argue the topic I would seriously consider sending him an email for he could help you more than I, and I am willing to bet he would respond. smile.gif
WhiteWolf
QUOTE (dionysus @ Jun 27 2008, 09:54 AM) *
Yes, but the point isn't to give teh w1n to the majority, it's to be as grammatically gender-neutral as possible.

Of course, anyone who thinks this is the front line in the battle for gender equality has a distorted sense of proportion. I think it's just that some people would really like a gender-neutral pronoun appropriate for use on humans. (and no animal testing.... twirl.gif )



You are correct. This is actually a battle over the proper use of grammer. notworthy.gif
Daddy's Little Ninja
I thought this was going to be about hijacking a delivery to a shoe store.
hyzmarca
Ambassador Moivin, you killed my lawyer.

The fact that most women aren't dorn with penises (though some are) is a matter of gender justice demonstrating that evolution is highly mano-centric and should be phased out in favor of a program of eugenics directed towards breeding a physically gender-neutral species. Pronouns are just a symptom of this evolutionary bias.

Jackstand
QUOTE (dionysus @ Jun 27 2008, 10:50 AM) *
I think it's a little harsh to label the substitution of "she" for "he" as a generic as "angry, politically-intrusive [or] in-your-face." If "he" is grammatically acceptable, why *not* "she?" Just because we've never done it that way. Oh yes, of course. How terrible for a language to evolve to reflect social norms.

I mean, yes, if someone's insisting that you use "she" exclusively, then that's a little grammar-fascist. But so is insisting on "he," really...they're both equally non-neutral.


Traditionally, and not just in english, but most european languages, the masculine pronoun has been the default for uses of indeterminate, or mixed genders (By which I mean, in the plural, a group of 100 people, even 99 female and 1 male, takes a masculine pronoun), though, that case doesn't arise in english and german, which only have one plural third-person pronoun.
Wesley Street
The thinly veiled misogyny of this thread is starting to grate. What kind of person cares if a rulebook uses the word "he" or "she" to describe the actions of a sample character?
Nightwalker450
Actually this is one of the more interesting of the vaguely shadowrun conversations. I really have no problem one way or another, though I did notice that there were alot of female hackers due to pronouns. Didn't bother me, but I did take notice.
Raij
The use of her and she in SR books pales in comparison to White Wolf products. They've been doing it for years.

As to why they do it, here is a WW livejournal question regarding this topic:

QUOTE
This may not fall under "Writing Under the Gun," but it definitely falls under writing styles: in WW products, where does the "she" come from as the primary (not sure if it's the only) pronoun for the player? It's not something I notice much anymore, but a few friends who are newer to roleplaying do a "Compared to everything else I've read, this weird" whenever they're reading through Exalted and Scion.


Writer response:

QUOTE
It's not the primary, it alternates. At least in WoD works, we tend to use them about equally; for example, in powers sections, I would try to use "she" as the player pronoun in one Gift list, and "he" in the next. It jumps out a bit more if you're not used to it.

There's a two-fold reason we've kept doing it. One is that alternating generic he and she in reference to the player is more gender-inclusive. You will see this frequently disputed, of course; there are many (mostly male) gamers I've noted who complain about the use. On the other hand, there are also many (often female) gamers who like and appreciate the use, so we carry on. It's not just us, by the way; you see it more and more these days. Even in D&D they use the default signature characters (sorry, their "iconics") to determine gender, so you will mostly see the generic wizard or rogue as "she," while cleric and fighter are "he."

The other reason is that it really helps keep things straight when you're using examples of contested rolls, or two characters interacting. Compare "When he uses this power on him, he must roll X" to "When she uses this power on him, she must roll X" or "When he uses this power on her, she must roll X". Going with a generic "he" actually makes things read less smoothly in such cases, so I'll admit I've never seriously considered going back to the more exclusive generic "he."


Source: http://community.livejournal.com/whitewolf_lj/
hyzmarca
In cases where generic pronouns make things confusing, it is most correct to use proper nouns.
Daddy's Little Ninja
And just more interesting to help visualize it. the too pc 'him/her' 'she'/he' is just grating to look at. So what if half the pronouns are female? We make up half the population of the world and IF it causes some male to feel put on because his gender does not dominate the text, then you know how women have felt for centuries.

I usually do not mind this stuff but if someone is so bend to feel threatened by the number of pronouns because it 'feels' like it is leaning in a certain way, and he was not put out when it favored men, it is just wrong.
Larme
QUOTE (Wesley Street @ Jun 27 2008, 03:51 PM) *
The thinly veiled misogyny of this thread is starting to grate. What kind of person cares if a rulebook uses the word "he" or "she" to describe the actions of a sample character?


I don't think it's so much misogyny as knee-jerk against political correctness. We all remember how annoying it was in the 90's where everyone had to self-censor or risk crucifixion. But when someone voluntarily, for its own sake, without threat or coercion, decides to be politically correct, what cause does anyone have to complain? I could understand the frustration if people were attacking the devs for not using "she," but here they felt like using it. It doesn't hurt anyone or anything. To me, the main thrust of this thread sounds like Christians complaining about "Happy Holidays." Gawd forbid we include everyone. Gawd forbid we slightly alter our prose just to be nice.

Now, I also agree with what WhiteWolf quoted. It should be about grammar, not politics. But I feel that the thread isn't about much more than hostility based on society's basic attempt to be a little more inclusive and friendly. Though I will note that the author leaves out a viable alternative - just use "she" instead of "he." Using "he" is an arbitrary rule of grammar. It can be arbitrarily changed. It's one extra letter, but no more cumbersome or misleading or wrong than "he." I think that people who study language get sucked into grammar as an end in and of itself -- it isn't. Grammar is a means to the end of expressing oneself clearly. There is no value in adhering to rules just because they're rules. Sticking with what's worked in the past is fine, but it's not set in stone. /ramble
Teal Deer
QUOTE (hyzmarca @ Jun 27 2008, 12:14 PM) *
In cases where generic pronouns make things confusing, it is most correct to use proper nouns.


Ah, glad to hear you say that. I hear cryptographers have some pretty good, gender-balanced conventions in that regard.

Dibs on Eve.
MJBurrage
I am a big fan of the use of singular they (Wikipedia link).

Such usage is not improper English, and has been used by (among others) Shakespeare, Jane Austin, Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, and the King James Bible.

The incorrect belief that it is bad grammar stems from a number of self-appointed grammarians who decided about a century ago that English (a Germanic language) should follow some rules they chose from Latin/Romance languages.
Chrysalis
I would wish to point out that the use of he or she is has gone beyond an issue of grammar and is now a question of stylistics.

I was looking through the Chicago manual of style and the MLA handbook with recomendations from the APA on use of gender. I even looked at a bit of history of gendered nouns in Old English. Unfortunately this is a matter which has no easy answer and is an oft common conversation topic over a coffee among my colleagues.
knasser

I deliberately vary it, using she in some places, he in others. I keep it consistent within sections to avoid confusion. As the quote from White Wolf above shows, it can also be a useful way to streamline examples using two participants. I also use they as a singular pronoun when appropriate because this is accepted usage and only disputed by people who want to sound clever in correcting others.

I don't see this as a big issue. It's readable either way and it's nice to include everyone. Had I been living in a society that was only just working its way out of a matriarchal culture, rather than a patriarchal one, I would undoubtedly be one of the fierce proponents of using 'he' more often.

Is there anything more that needs to be said on this?
FrankTrollman
The use of the word "their" as a gender neutral possessive is in fact correct English. In many dialects. In some dialects it is incorrect.

More importantly, while I personally use the word their naturally in speech and writing, the folks at Catalyst do not. They use he or she. So when I worked for them, they wanted he or she in there, and I wanted theirs there, and it was something of a problem.

But no, the use of gendered pronouns is not consistent throughout the English speaking world, and there isn't a right answer. It's not especially a "Politically Correct" thing (that concept was coined by Reaganites anyway and is the origin of the term "pro-life" to be used instead of "anti-abortion"). It's a linguistic drift thing. There was a time in history where words like "he" and "man" were gender neutral in the English language, and now they pretty much aren't. Since we no longer conceive of a "woman" as "a man who has a womb," the use of the word "man" no longer feels gender neutral to many English speakers.

In Star Trek: The Next Generation they say "To boldly go where no one has gone before" and they say it this way because to many modern listeners it sounds better than to say "no man." Languages change over time, you should probably learn to deal with that fact before it drives you mad.

---

Now in the specific case of what gender neutral pronouns should be used, the English speaking world has not reached consensus. In my personal Californian Dialect the answer is "they/their" for "him/his." But in other linguistic groups it is not. Personally I hope for the ascendancy of the They/Their position because it would be easier for me personally, but there are lots of other possibilities. Some traditionalists still stubbornly hold onto using him/his but honestly I can virtually guaranty you that in the future that is going to look even stranger than it already does.

-Frank
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