Though he has noticed a decline in the quality of spelling among young French people, Dalrymple says on the Salisbury Review blog that he finds the ideologically-driven selection of third-person pronouns in English to be more serious:
I am writing a chapter for an American academic book at the moment and have been shown several of its other chapters, all of high quality. As with practically all American academic writing nowadays, however, the impersonal he has been replaced by the impersonal she, except where they alternate. The expression his and hers has been universally replaced by hers and his…
The change from the impersonal he to the impersonal she is not spontaneous, but ideologically-driven. In some of the chapters of the book there is an alternation between the two impersonal pronouns which I do not believe could possibly have come about except by conscious effort.
In other words, we have entered the realm of Newspeak, but this time not imposed by any central party or state organisation, and therefore all the more difficult to combat.
A good item, but since TD places such emphasis on the correct use of language I should point out that he fails to observe the use/mention distinction, that is, the difference between using words and mentioning them, as seen in the following sentences:
Boston has six million inhabitants.
“Boston” has six letters.
Therefore, he should be writing:
The impersonal “she”
The expression “his and hers”
Obviously, one can still follow what he’s saying without the use of quotation marks (or italics, which some use instead) and few people observe the distinction nowadays, but ever since I was berated by my Professor of Logic for failing to observe the distinction I’ve felt it necessary to exact retribution on others 🙂
I noticed that, too. 🙂