pronoun[third person singular]
Middle English: probably a phonetic development of the Old English feminine personal pronoun hēo, hīe
1 For a discussion of whether to say I am older than she or I am older than her, see personal pronoun (usage) and than. 2 The use of the pronoun he to refer to a person of unspecified sex, once quite acceptable, has become problematic in recent years and is now usually regarded as old-fashioned or sexist. One of the responses to this has been to use she in the way that he has been used, as in only include your child if you know she won’t distract you. In some types of writing, such as books on child care or child psychology, use of she has become quite common. In most contexts, however, it is likely to be distracting in the same way that he now is, and alternatives such as he or she or they are preferable. In some contexts where alternation would not distract, writers seeking ‘balanced representation’ vary the gender of the personal pronoun by using she or her in one paragraph, and he or him in the next, and so on. This method should be used with restraint, however, as it may confuse or annoy the reader. See also he (usage) and they.