[P]rior to the beginning of the prescriptive grammar movement in English, singular ‘they’ was both accepted and widespread … the prescriptive grammarians’ attack on singular ‘they’ was socially motivated, and the specific reasons for their attack are discussed.
(Bodine, Anne 1975, ‘Androcentrism in prescriptive grammar: singular ‘they’, Sex-indefinite ‘he’, and ‘he or she’”, Language in society, vol 4, 129 – 146)
generic singular pronouns
You would be in the company of revered authors such as Jane Austen, Lewis Carroll, and Shakespeare Jane Austen and other famous authors violate what everyone learned in their English class.
Singular “their” etc., was an accepted part of the English language before the 18th-century grammarians started making arbitrary judgements as to what is “good English” and “bad English”, based on a kind of pseudo-“logic” deduced from the Latin language, that has nothing whatever to do with English »
Rather than join the ranks of grammarians who walk through all the arguments in favor of singular they but then throw their hands up in defeat and tell you to avoid it because it’s not accepted yet, I’m taking a different track and recommending its use. The problem with not using it until it becomes accepted is that it won’t become accepted until enough people — especially people with some authority in the field of usage — use it and say it’s okay to use it. If we sit around waiting for the day when it’s declared to be acceptable, we’ll be waiting a long time. But while there are still people who will decry it as an error, as I’ve said before, you can’t please everyone. … I think it’s the best solution for a common problem, and it’s time to stop wringing our hands over it and embrace it.
The Awkward Case of “His or Her”: http://www.merriam-webster.com/video/0033-hisher.htm
Faceoff: ‘he’, ‘he or she’, ‘he/she’, ‘s/he’ versus ‘they’: http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/06/he-or-she-versus-they/
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