The House of Representatives shall chuse their [modernly, its] Speaker.
U.S. Const. art. I, § 2
Wouldn't the use of its here be "animateness-neutral", so to speak, as opposed to their?
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
This is not a singular they, as your tags imply it might be, but a plural they. In modern American English, we usually treat collective nouns as singular. "The company puts out a press release most weeks, but it skipped this week."
In the usage you quote (and sometimes in modern Commonwealth English), the collective noun is being treated as a group of people. "The company put out a press release most weeks, but they skipped this week."