warningsignHis or her, their

When referring to antecedents of indeterminate gender, we have three options for the possessive adjective: his, his/her (his or her), or their. 1

Until recently his was the most common form; however, it is sometimes considered sexist, so many prefer the neuter form theirSometimes authors will use her to avoid being sexist or to draw attention to the adjective.



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Not everyone agrees on what the best option is. The Guardian newspaper, for example, advises against the use of he/his: "Never say 'his' to cover men and women: use his or her, or a different construction; in sentences such as 'a teacher who beats his/her pupils is not fit to do the job', there is usually a way round the problem – in this case, 'teachers who beat their pupils ...' "2

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