First it was societal, and then it was about inclusion, then convenience.
Whether it is business or literature or media, short or long, prose or poetry — it has become more and more acceptable to generalize the gender. People find it very inconvenient to type “his/her”, “he/she”, and “him/her”, instead use the male form as the generalized form. Some people care to put a disclaimer at the front; most don’t even bother to do that.
If there are 10 people reading this blog, 8 of you are thinking why this is even a topic for a blog. Am I making a big deal out of nothing? I would have thought so too, before I read Linchpin by Seth Godin. In this book, he more-than-obviously generalizes gender — to the advantage of the female.
The effect of this is profound and more revealing than I ever thought — both for the writer and the reader. After I had written some blog posts generalized using male form, I tried replacing the he, him, his with she, her and her respectively. My perspective of my own words changed — it’s a miracle.
As a writer myself, I resolve to generalize gender to the female form, for the months to come and see how that changes my perspective of women, our prejudices and ultimately of ourselves.
If you are somebody that creates content, will you join me for this small experiment?