During conversation, one says "he/she ought to do this" because if you just say "he ought to do this" then you are being sexist... since you didn't include "she" and only included "he" in the sentence.
What is a solution that isn't sexist for the he/she/woman/man problem in writing and conversation? There is one.. it requires some new words in the dictionary representing universal he/she and universal woman/man and women/men.
Interestingly enough, I've thought about solutions to the he/she and woman/man problem in conversation. I find the slash annoying.. and using 'he' only can be labeled as sexist since it kind of is. The he/she problem is also annoying kind of how saying Gnu/Linux is annoying compared to using just 'Linux'. Especially in conversation where you are not just going to stop and say 'slash' every fifth word. Similar problems with s/he.
Here is what I came up with:
First, one possible solution would be for the definition of 'men' in the dictionary to change.. it could be something like:
1. men: male humans
2. men: sometimes can be used to reference both women and men,
since men is the root word of women.
I find it annoying to have to go:
He/she went to the store and he/she bought a card for a man/woman.
I wish there was something like:
Yee went to the store and yee bought a card for umen.
Where 'yee' was 'either a male or female' and where 'umen' means men/women.
Uman is the singular of umen.
Yee went to the store and yee bought a card for a uman.
That would mean..
He/she went to the store and he/she bought a card for a woman/man
uman: a woman or a man, universal
umen: women or men, universal
yee: he or she, universal.
Yee went to the store and yee bought a card for people.
Yee went to the store and yee bought a card for a person.
The problem with 'people' or 'person' is that it is not specific enough. People could include children. Men/women are not children. Therefore umen is more specific than 'people' since umen implies only men/women.. whereas people could be children and men/women.
How are new words added to the dictionary, anyway? No one says that current english is perfect.. there is room for improvement. Who has control of the dictionary, anyway? Hmm.
Some rambling and groaning
Thanks to Hannah/Deanna/Nick/others for flaming or responding to my nonsense.. they have suggested that 'they' and 's/he' or 'human' or 'person' can be used instead of my Yee/Uman invention.
I responded with the fact that slashes are like GNU/Linux or Gnu/Linux or GNU/linux or gnu/linux. It breaks apart the conversation and disturbs the world.
I also responded with the evidence that using 'they' can cause some confusion. If I say 'they are nice', no one will ever know if I meant a group of people, or a single person.. whereas Yee clearly/explicitly implies only one person is involved. "They" can be saved for group situations. You may say.. who cares? Well, I want to know who specifically.. and if it is they, I will not know if you are pointing at the entire group of people, or just that one single person in the group.
If I say 'they are going to the store' I have no way of knowing if it is a group of people or a single person going to the store. I may not want to go to the store if only one person is going.. I may need further clarification if I am a social person that wants to go with more than one person. Yee would solve this confusion.
If we use 'someone is going to the store' that sounds very anonymous.. as in some random person is going to the store. Yee is more specific, as in he/she. I can point at someone with long hair, like Stallman, not knowing whether he is a female or a male, and say 'Yee is going to the store to buy Windows 98'. But if I point at him/her and say 'someone is going to the store' that doesn't make sense since I am pointing at him and he is not a someone, he is a he/she. I can point at him and say 's/he is going to the store'. But in conversation one cannot say a slash out loud without extreme discomfort, hence the GNU/Linux problem plagues us.
As you can see, maybe I had a subconscious ulterior motive for writing this article.. to prove that GNU/Linux should actually be called GNU/BSD/Linux. More correctly, it should even be called GNU/OpenBSD/FreeBSD/NetBSD/BSD/Linux since it contains OpenSSH software and other BSD patches that have been applied into it. Yet Stallman only wants to call it GNU/Linux.. because he only wants to promote his own GNU popularity mainly. Imagine if you had to type gnu-mv, gnu-cp, gnu-rm every time you wanted to move or copy a file. Worse, gnu-linux-bsd-rm, gnu-linux-bsd-cp.
Also, Linux has some Minux roots, so it should be called GNU/Minux/Linux/BSD. In fact linux would have never started without minux. Even the sun, and the moon, played a role. GNU/Minux/Linux/BSD/Sun/Earth/Moon/Water. The Sun would cause confusion with Sun microsystems.. GNU/Linux/BSD/Sun(not as in the california company)/Earth/Moon/Water/Fire.
There is also:
That person is going to the store.
The problem with 'that person' is that it means 'that person' and cannot refer to a he dog, she dog, he cat, she cat. You cannot say 'that person' in reference to a male cat or female cat. Yee can refer to a male or female cat/dog. Person is tied to the human species, whereas he, she, or yee are not.
That person also gets annoying when you have to say:
If that person wants to run software on that person's pc, and if that person has a
license, then that person can take that person's article and shove it up that
person's rear end.
If that person wants to be successful, that person should use the best
tools available to that person.
The 'that person' floods the sentence, versus the cleaner and clearer:
If yee wants to run software on yi pc, and if yee has a license, then yee can
take yi article and shove it up yi rear end.
If yee wants to be successful, yee should use the best tools available to yi.
Yee could be refering to a cat that owns a computer. "That person" cannot be referring to a cat, and therefore is not a valid replacement for he/she/yee.
There is also
One is going to the store.
The problem with this is that it is not specific. If I am pointing at someone with long hair like Stallman, and I say 'that one is going to the store', this does not say that he is an animal/human. He could be a basketball heading to the store bouncing along in that direction. Whereas yee/he/she makes it clear he is a human or animal, and not just a 'one' or any object whatsoever. One ball is heading to the store, one box is heading to the store, one pizza is heading to the door. Those aren't people or animals.
As for shemales.. what about the hefemales. Those are all umales.