The Generic Pronouns: He, His, and Him


 

 

However rich English language may be, but all the same it lacks a single pronoun indicating non-specific "he or she". Traditionally we used the masculine pronoun (he, his, him) for this purpose.

Lately this tendency has been widely-criticized as it evokes male images even if it functions as a generic pronoun.

e.g: Somebody has left his money on the desk.

To provide equal linguistic representation of the sexes and to achieve clarity of meaning, avoid using generic "he". The following tips will tell you help you achieve it:

  • Change the sentence into the plural:

   A person should never break his promises.

   People should never break their promises.

  • With indefinite pronouns (anybody, somebody, nobody, no one, etc) replace her or his (her/his), he or she (he/she) for the masculine pronoun:

   Everybody should take care of his/ her health.

  • Paraphrase the sentence to avoid personal pronouns:

   People should never break promises.

  • Use the pronoun "you" :

   You should never break your promise.

   You should take care of your health.

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