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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • "He" is not gender neutral.

    To put my pedant hat on, I must point out that dictionarys do in fact indicate a gender neutral definition for "he". My Concise Oxford, for example, says "a person ... of unspecified sex".

    I wouldn't deny for a moment that such meanings are considered dated now. It's pretty hard to overlook the obvious male bias in the word. As both you and Adam point out, the English language lacks a comfortable alternative. Perhaps you'd like to coin one?

    There's a bit of a chicken-and-

    • I know that's what the dictionary says. I'd like it to still be true. But it's not what people envision. If I say to you "After the accident, the driver got out of his car. He swore about the damage.", that's a fairly different sentence than "After the accident, the driver got out of her car. She swore about the damage." Most people see 'he' and envision a man.

      Historically, using "he" as a gender neutral term made sense when the gender was irrelevant. This rarely applied to the upper class. If y