I was just listening to A Way With Words, and I heard something that caught me completely off guard. I’ve been complaining about gender-neutral singular pronouns for years, hoping that something like ‘ve’ would replace the awkward ‘he or she’ or the patently evil ‘s/he’. Greg Egan aside, nothing ever took off. It turns out that the verbivores have already solved this one to my satisfaction with an obvious (but previously maligned) choice: they.
To quote from Sex and the Singular Pronoun:
Gentle reader (and listener), please open your ears and eyes. Listen and look for statements that contain an indefinite pronoun or a singular noun and hear and see what pronoun follows. In almost every case that pronoun will be a form of they. We do that because the device is historically tested. We do that because it is more graceful than “he or she.” And we do that because it avoids making a minority of us the linguistic norm and a majority of us a linguistic afterthought.
That settles it as far as I’m concerned. I’m going to start using the singular they with impunity, and I’ll let anyone I meet know that they’re welcome to do so as well. ¡Viva la evolución!