Himself vs Herself

Posted: Tue 24th Nov 2009@15:24

I have noticed whilst reading numerous academic papers, blogs and articles etc., that the Authors tend towards using a the female term to refer to people of an unknown gender, whereas I always understood the default to be the male pronoun.

for example:

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of several pioneers, who have worked on making it possible for an average citizen to educate Herself about the laws of the land:

source


I have often wondered to myself, why this is, I wondered whether it was that no-one would get offended at using the female term, but some might get offended if the female term was not represented. Maybe it isn't that at all, perhaps it's just lazyness, as the correct grammer would be to use both e.g.

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of several pioneers, who have worked on making it possible for an average citizen to educate Himself or Herself about the laws of the land:


Suspended hyphenation may be accetable, Him- or Herself, but the nearest I could find to an appropriate shortened version would be to use Themselves (but not Themself), but I get the impression that is only acceptable in British English (En-UK?).

I think I will try to use the full terminology. Does anyone know and English expert who can tell me the correct usage? :)


Last edited: Tue 24th Nov 2009@15:27

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