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Re: Castrated sexism?

Philip asseverates:
Umm...just a nit to pick. The English "he" is historically neuter. The

masculine merged with the neuter very early, and by the 1400's there was
almost no trace of it left. English has no masculine, only feminine
and neuter. That is the reason the default sex is "masculine".

Historically, it was (and remains) neuter/unknown.

Colin disagrees.
The English 'he' is historically masculine.
English lost grammatical gender during the change from old
to middle English, and has not had it since. However,
it had and retains a three-way system in 3rd person singular
pronouns (he/she/it. Notice that in ME the possessive forms
were often his/her/his, sometimes the neuter was 'hit', same
as the subject/object forms. 'its' is a late ME development
I think).
As in many languages which distinguish masculine from feminine,
the masculine form is also used for common/unspecified - I cannot
think of any languages where a neuter is used for common-gender

The lack of a common pronoun has been felt for at least 200 years -
a number of C18 writers consistently used 'they ' and 'their' as
singular pronouns of common gender.

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