Until English speakers adopt a gender-neutral pronoun, we’re stuck typing out “he or she” and “his or her” to be inclusive. But that can get super clunky. Fortunately, AP says it’s OK to use “they” in the singular when it’s absolutely necessary or when someone’s gender is unknown or should not be revealed. Specifically, AP says:
They/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and/or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy. However, rewording usually is possible and always is preferable.
- So instead of: Police said the victim would be identified after his or her relatives are notified.
- It’s OK to say: Police said the victim would be identified after their relatives are notified.
- But it’d be better to say: Police said the victim would be identified after relatives are notified.