GENDER: He, He or She, or They
20/05/16 GENDER: He, He or She, or They
Traditionally, English has used he in cases where the sex of a person is not known, or in references that can apply to either men or women, especially in a formal style.
If I ever find the person who did that, I’ll kill him.
If a student is ill, he must send his medical certificate to the College office.
A doctor can’t do a good job is he doesn’t like people.
Many people (including myself) regard such usage as sexist and try to avoid it. The expression he or she is common.
A doctor can’t do a good job is he or she doesn’t like people.
In an informal style, we often use they to mean “he or she,” especially after indefinite words like somebody, anybody, nobody, person. This usage is sometimes considered “incorrect,” (not by me), but it has been common in educate speech for centuries.
If anybody wants my tickets, they can have it.
“There’s somebody at the door.” “Tell them I’m out.”
When a person gets married, they have to start thinking about their responsibilities.
God send everyone their heart’s desire. (Shakespeare)