On 02/07/2020 14:52, Paul Moore wrote:
On Thu, 2 Jul 2020 at 14:34, Henk-Jaap Wagenaar firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
PEP-8 however does not mention a particular edition and the version that is readily available (in the public domain) does contain this problematic section "to use the masculine pronouns whenever possible" which is not inclusive.
(This is a genuine question, and I'm terrified of being yelled at for asking it, which gives an idea of the way this thread has gone - but I genuinely do want to know, to try to improve my own writing).
What *is* the correct inclusive way to refer to an unidentified person in a technical document, without sacrificing clarity by using convoluted circumlocutions like "he/her/they" or over-use of the passive voice? My impression is that commonly accepted language rules and usage are lagging behind, and there's no good answer to this question yet :-(
It depends a bit on circumstances. Often it's easy to rephrase to use a plural noun ("If users want to be able to frobnicate, they can set ALLOW_FROBNICATION=1..."). If you can't do that, you're basically stuffed. "He or she" is unlovely, all the variations of it that people have come up with over the years are worse, "he" will trigger people prone to seeing overarching patriarchalism, "she" will trigger people prone to seeing overarching feminism, and "they" will trigger people who think it's just wrong :-/