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Old 08-15-2007, 07:09 AM   #7
Michael Rowley
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Ipswich (the one in England)
Posts: 5,105


It is curious that languages with feminine and masculine case endings for nouns seem less bothered with gender politics in grammar than in English, where there is none.
There has been a change in attitudes even in some of those coutries too; for instance, in Germany and France it is no longer customary to address grown women of any age as 'Fraülein' and 'Mademoiselle': instead, it's now always 'Frau' and 'Madame', unless the female in question has obviously not yet reached the age of puberty. But they never break grammatical rules. I read somewhere about a Frenchwoman, 'un Ministre' in the government, who demanded to be known as 'Madame, la Ministre' (ministre is masculine), but apparently that didn't go down at all well with her civil servants.

I write many rules and regulations without going out of my way to avoid calling a member he or him, instead of 'he or she' or 'him or her' (without incurring the wrath of my mostly female colleagues), but I do use 'members' and 'they' or 'them' wherever possible.

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