As other answers note, this is not non-standard. The gendering of nouns in English tends to go with the extent to which we personify or humanise them.
Thus, inanimate objects are usually it, as are animals that are not well-known enough to be considered with personalities, even if their sex is known*. Conversely, humans are almost invariably he, she, as are closely-known individual animals (eg the whale in Moby-Dick), and inanimate objects that are highly anthropomorphised — often ships, sometimes countries and planets, occasionally cars, musical instruments, etc.
The OED, for instance, under she, lists the relevant sense as:
2. Used (instead of it) of things to which female sex is conventionally attributed.
2a. Of a ship or boat. Also (now chiefly in colloquial and dialect use), often said of a carriage, a cannon or gun, a tool or utensil of any kind; occas. of other things.
2b. Of abstractions, etc. personified as feminine; also of the soul, a city, the church, a country, †an army, etc.
†2c. rarely Of an immaterial thing without personification.
This corresponds in some ways to the grammatical distinction of animate/inanimate found in many languages (eg Russian); but those terms are a little misleading here, since as mentioned above, animals are very often it in English.
I should add that this is is mostly my own analysis; I don’t know a formal treatment of this in English grammar, and would love to see one. But I’d contend that this — rather than a hangover or influence from more ubiquitous grammatical gender — is the reason why ships and whales are she.
* Compare the Ngrams hits for
bull with its vs
bull with his, etc; note that most hits with his are references to John Bull, Sitting Bull, or similar.