English Gender Neutral Pronouns
The use of gender neutral pronouns in common English parlance is a practice which I strongly urge. There are many times when the imposition of gender on to second personal pronouns causes much harm. I certainly have been the subject of much psychological pain due to the existence in English of gendered pronouns. English is a special language among European tongues in that most of the language in not gendered.
My personal preference is to return to using e as a second person pronoun in English, which was common before the development of she and complementary he.
Gender neutral second person personal pronoun style guide:
- He or She becomes E
- His or Hers becomes Er
- Him or Her becomes Em
As you may notice, these forms are derived by removing the ‘th’ from they, their, and them. This emphasizes English speakers preference for the e sound over alternates like ze/zie/sie/hir/hy, and is shorter and simpler than others’ alternates. Some have suggested ‘yo’ as modern American English alternative. Typically used as a first person familiar address, use of ‘yo‘ as a second person pronoun can cause confusion. I do note that it can be difficult to insert new terms into a living language. One may wish to use they/them as an alternate solution.
Since it is difficult to add new usages of words to living languages, the singular they has become popular. This is also a traditional use, which fell out of fashion but has returned as an effective of using a first person singular pronoun without a determinate gender.
Please use gender neutral second person personal pronouns when speaking and writing in English. Many people will benefit from this development.