He/Him vs She/Her in Modern English

There was this huge feminist movement about 20-30 years ago that wanted to put an end to the common usage of he/him in English to refer to someone. While I have no issue with this, it seems that no good solution was ever found and the most common solutions suck. I agree that there needs to be a change because even though the words him and he always referred to either a man or a woman it is less precise since the reader does not necessarily know if the writer means men and woman, or just men. Where as the words she/her are specific to women.

The common solutions are to either randomly switch between using he/him and she/her or to use some made up combination of the two, like s/he or him/her. The first solution is confusing to me because she/her means specifically females only, and the second solution is just lame (s/he is not a word). The strange part is that the English language already has an existing solution to this dilemma, and that is the they/them combination. You can replace he with they, and him with them (when you are not talking about a specific person of course).

For example, "A student should have help with step 1, then he may do step 2 by himself." becomes "A student should have help with step 1, then they may do step 2 by themselves."

According to Wiktionary:

The third person, nominative case, usually plural, but sometimes used in the singular when the gender is unknown or irrelevant.
Third person singular pronoun of indeterminate or irrelevant gender.

Eschew obfuscation.

Tags: rant social