So Called Inclusive Language

    These days, many teachers require their students to use so called inclusive language.  Writers face the same pressure from many editors.  Sometimes I am asked whether I too impose this requirement.  No, I don't.  But sometimes I am asked why I don't.  Do I have something against women?  On the contrary, I am pleased that there are two sexes instead of one or none; I find that it makes the world much more interesting and colorful.  But I am not one of those who are angry with the language and wish to punish it, and I draw a line at ideologically motivated censorship of innocent words.  In English, the pronoun “he” has always been understood to refer to a person of either sex, except where the context clearly indicates the masculine.  It is already inclusive.  This is how the language has spontaneously developed, and this is the language that I use.

     I also follow many other ancient usages.  For example, I use the masculine pronoun for God, and at least in some contexts I use the feminine pronoun for nature, for the soul, and for Wisdom when poetically personified and understood as one of God's attributes.  The reasons for these customs, and the reasons for my adherence to them, would take us far afield.  If you choose to speak and write differently, you may do so.  I do ask that you extend the same courtesy to me.  In the meantime, since my language includes masculine, feminine, neuter, and authentically inclusive terms, any rational being who "feels excluded" has only himself, herself, or itself to blame.

     By the way, if you do wish to avoid "he," please be consistent:  In this case you should also avoid "she."  How is it that the former pronoun is sexist, but the latter pronoun isn't?  After all, in the English language one can read "he" without thinking of a man, but no one ever reads "she" without thinking of a womanAnd please don't treat singular pronouns as plural; the sentence “If someone likes Orwellian Newspeak, then they should be allowed to speak it," is an offense to every reasonable ear.    Why not just say "Anyone who likes Orwellian Newspeak should be allowed to speak it"?