Androcentrism in prescriptive grammar: singular ‘they’, sex-indefinite ‘he’, and ‘he or she’

  title={Androcentrism in prescriptive grammar: singular ‘they’, sex-indefinite ‘he’, and ‘he or she’},
  author={Ann Bodine},
  journal={Language in Society},
  pages={129 - 146}
  • A. Bodine
  • Published 1 August 1975
  • Linguistics
  • Language in Society
ABSTRACT This paper demonstrates that prior to the beginning of the prescriptive grammar movement in English, singular ‘they’ was both accepted and widespread. It is argued that the prescriptive grammarians' attack on singular ‘they’ was socially motivated, and the specific reasons for their attack are discussed. By analogy with socially motivated changes in second person pronouns in a variety of European languages, it is suggested that third person pronoun usage will be affected by the current… 

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