Friday, January 27, 2012

"she" as the general pronoun

So I've been coming across this a lot lately and I kinda like it: "she" or "her" being used as the general pronoun instead of "he" and "him".  I studied this a little bit in one of my linguistics classes in college, how the general pronoun is "he".  Really, it should be "one" but very few people use it in writing because of the old fashioned feel to it; more likely than not, it's just "he".  Some languages have a general pronoun to use when speaking about hypothetical or general statements that don't have any masculine or feminine connotation but in English it's just "he".

 The article I read (which I can't remember now since it was a while ago, so much for primary sources... ) talks about the psychology of this and how it makes boys feel like they could do anything, where as it makes girls feel more reserved.  This is because "he" is used so much in writing, so subconsciously boys and girls read that and think whether or not it applied to them.  This is especially important now, where the trend is to make girls intelligent and able.  (a good trend if you ask me).  I think that it's good we are starting to use "she" to be the general pronoun, so that (subconsciously) it lets girls know they are able to do anything too.  I have to say, because I didn't grow up with it, I always notice when writers use "she" instead of "he" as the general pronoun, but I still think it's a good change.

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