How English Teachers Destroy the English Language
My school uses The Writing and Revision Stylebook, by Gregory Heyworth and Rosette Liberman (the latter is a teacher at the school, which may explain why we have so many copies). I was glancing through the book to see how in compares to great stylebooks like Fowler’s Modern English Usage and Strunk & White, and I was horrified to find a section entitled, “Using non-sexist controlling pronouns.” The Writing and Revision Stylebook explains:
“Non-sexist terminology emphasizes the equality of men and women by injection gender-neutral nouns and feminine pronouns into writing…In a short piece of writing, the hybrid pronoun he/she or its cousin his or her can be non-intrusive.”
The stylebook admits that the ‘he/she’ type of thing can be cumbersome, and demonstrates this by example. Just as you think the book is about to get serious and tell you the truth about pronouns, it gives instead the following commentary:
“This example can be corrected in several ways. The controlling voice can be converted to the plural they, to the objective one or to the exclusive use of either the masculine or the feminine throughout [in which case] the controlling pronoun can alternate between female and male from one example to the next.”
The English language does, of course, change over time – it becomes simpler and more elegant. What you see here is an attempt by feminist teachers to change the language in order to accommodate their political views.