As you know from listening to my podcast, I like to use unbiased language whenever I can. That’s language that is as free from gender assumptions as possible.
The APA has explicit guidelines for how to do this. You can find them here: http://is.gd/prz4 in the section titled “Unbiased language.” Watch it before reading my critique. It’s only about 1.5 minutes long.
What do you think? I think her solution is clunky and awkward. Furthermore, I disagree with her logic. She says you can’t use “they” as the gender neutral singular: “When a CEO wants to eat lunch, they go to the store.” You can’t use it because it’s “not proper grammar.”
If proper grammar is the metric, however, then isn’t he perfectly acceptable, proper, and supported by several centuries of usage?
She wants to adhere to the grammar rules, yet there are no grammar rules to handle this. That’s precisely the issue: we need a new guideline. I was hoping she would have a more creative solution than simply using “He or she” and then framing everything as a plural. Oh, well.