It’s OK To Use “They” To Describe One Person: Here’s Why
Has someone ever asked you to refer to them as they instead of he or she? Or, are you hedging because you can’t possibly refer to one single person as they? What if we told you that they has been used to refer to just one person since at least the 1300s?
Lexicographers have determined that as far back as the 1300s, they has been used as a gender-neutral pronoun, a word that was substituted in place of either he (a masculine singular pronoun) or she (a feminine singular pronoun), e.g., Each student should get their supplies ready for class.Each student is singular, but we don’t know (or need to know) the gender/sex identity of each student in this situation, so their is perfectly handy. Even Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and other beloved writers of the English literary canon used singular they.
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