Our desperate, 250-year-long search for a gender-neutral pronoun

January 25, 2011

In 1872, Susan B. Anthony and fifty other women registered to vote in Rochester, New York, and got into all kinds of hot water. Anthony was arrested and freed on bail, at which point she took to the lecture halls to rail against sexist pronouns:

[I]t is urged [that] the use of the masculine pronouns he, his, and him, in all the constitutions and laws, is proof that only men were meant to be included in their provisions. If you insist on this version of the letter of the law, we shall insist that you be consistent, and accept the other horn of the dilemma...

"There is no she, or her, or hers, in the tax laws," concluded Anthony, blasting her opponents to smithereens. "The same is true of all the criminal laws."

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