Ungendered "he said-she said"?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Dec 2 18:03:25 UTC 2009

At 8:52 AM -0900 12/2/09, David Bowie wrote:
>I heard a report on the radio this morning about last night's meeting of
>the Anchorage [Alaska] Assembly (an oddly-named 11-member city council),
>at which they reviewed the "Wheeler report", a report that claims that
>former Anchorage mayor (now US senator) Mark Begich willfully misled the
>assembly on the state of city finances before leaving office.
>One of the sound bites was from Sheila Selkregg (i think), a member of
>the assembly, who called the report a "he said-she said" document.
>The interesting thing is that both sides are male--on the one is Mark
>Begich, and on the other is either Dennis Wheeler (the author of the
>report) or Dan Sullivan (the current mayor, who's been hypercritical of
>Begich's administration and has heavily promoted the report).
>Of course, i don't know if there's further context that would go against
>this interpretation, but this really sounded to me like "he said-she
>said" has branched out into meaning simply "two sides [unmarked for sex]
>each claim opposing things that can't be definitively proven". Has
>anyone else come across this?
I have, although I don't have a specific cite for it.  Probably a
google search would pull some up.  I've also heard "HE-said/HE-said"
and, although less frequently, "SHE-said/SHE-said" for the same-sex


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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