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Speaking about someone of unknown gender…
Gender neutral pronoun

I'm writing a paper about markets and mention several times providers and their offers. The problem is when I use the singular, since I'm not sure if I should use a male or female pronouns. For example, is it a provider and his offer or a provider and her offer?

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marked as duplicate by Rhodri, Callithumpian, RegDwigнt Jun 21 '11 at 11:19

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can just as well use "a provider and their offer" to keep it neutral and still in the singular person.

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Is that even gramatically correct? Can I use their when I write in singular? –  Ivan Jun 21 '11 at 11:14
    
@Ivan: Yes, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they for more –  JoseK Jun 21 '11 at 11:25
    
@Ivan: yes, it is, and yes, you can. See Is it correct to use “their” instead of “his or her”?, in addition to the Gender neutral pronoun question linked above. –  RegDwigнt Jun 21 '11 at 11:25

The generic pronoun, is "he" and is defined:

anyone (without reference to sex); that person:

"He" has been used as a generic pronoun for some time, and will be understood.

I would advise you to use "he", or "his", or "him", when referring to anyone in general.

However, due to feminist movements in recent times, if you want to be absolutely politically correct, then you would substitute words like "one" i.e. A manager should know one's duties, or usage of the neuter pronoun "they" and "their", as in:

Sportspersons should know their limits in actions. They should be able to discern what is acceptable, and what is not.

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