Putting gender pronouns in neutral

TheState.com – By William Weir – The Hartford Courant

For at least 150 years, people have been trying to solve the pronoun dilemma.

That would be the dilemma that causes ungainly formations out of fairness to both genders: ?he or she,? ?him or her,? or ?s//he.? Some avoid the gender question altogether by speaking in the plural, as in ?If anyone asks, tell them what they need to know.?

Some people have taken the more extreme approach of devising entirely new pronouns that specify no gender. ?Ne,? ?hizer,? ?thon,? ?shem? and ?herm? are just a few that have come along, and faded almost as quickly. They?re known as gender-neutral, or epicene, pronouns.

The latest such pronoun comes from DeAnn DeLuna, who teaches literature at Johns Hopkins University. Her creation, ?hu,? would replace he, she, him, her and his. Because it?s just one word, unlike an entire set of pronouns, DeLuna says its easier to use than other gender-neutral pronouns. And the word (pronounced ?huh?), trips off the tongue easily.