she as a gender-neutral pronoun

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Jan 7 12:55:56 UTC 2011

At 5:45 AM +0100 1/7/11, Paul Frank wrote:
>Federico quoted:
>>  "The virtue of compassion requires us to put ourselves consistently in
>>  somebody else's shoes, to feel his pain as though it were our own, and to
>>  enter generously into her point of view."
>I have no problem with "she" as a gender-neutral pronoun, nor with
>"they," nor in fact with "he," and mixing "he" and "she" in the space
>of a few paragraphs to talk about the same non-specified person often
>works more or less, but doing so in one sentence sounds too artificial
>to me. Here Karen Armstrong (whose book a History of God I loved)
>seems to be talking about a person whose gender is interchangeable,
>which doesn't make sense.
You're assuming a person.  Maybe she's talking about compassionate oysters.


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