On 2020-07-02 17:47, Piper Thunstrom wrote:
On Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 12:16 PM MRAB firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Here's an article on singular 'they':
TL;DR: It's not a recent usage; it was OK in 1375.
Forgive me for not giving a detailed play by play of 15 years of experience specifically as a writer and editor.
Over the last handful of decades, singular "they" has been explicitly taught as inappropriate. My own college writing classes (only 10 years ago now) included this specific piece of advice.
In terms of modern English vernacular, singular "they" has been continuously and rigorously treated as inappropriate.
Those who prefer singular "they", myself included, point to references very much like yours as evidence that it has a long history of usage. But until only the last few years, the popular style guides explicitly forbade it.
I hope that helps you understand.
It's also like saying that you shouldn't split infinitives ("to boldly go") because Latin doesn't (and can't), or that the copula "be" should be followed the nominative case ("It is I", not "It is me") because that's what Latin does (on the other hand, French says "C'est moi", not "C'est je").
English isn't Latin.