Did you know that if you have ever substituted “he or she” for generic “he,” then you have been made the accomplice of feminist propaganda? That is precisely what David Gelernter argues in his must-read article “Feminism and the English Language: Can the damage to our mother tongue be undone?” Among other things, he says that feminist idealogues have pushed generic masculines out of English style manuals and have made it a cultural sin to use them at all.
For the record, I use generic masculines and will continue to do so. They are no more instruments of oppressive patriarchy than are the squirrels in my backyard. They may look kind of creepy to some, but they really are harmless.
Anyway, read Gelernter’s article in toto. It’s excellent.
[David Gelernter is a professor of computer science at Yale University.]