I don't like it, but often it's just too darn awkward to work around it. Mary Norris devoted a lot of space to this in her terrific BETWEEN YOU & ME, Confessions of a Comma Queen, and I agree with her that like it or not - she does not - it's used so commonly it is coming to be accepted in usage. It still just feels to me that "they" should refer to more than one person.
I remember being surprised at finding it in Jane Austen (EMMA, I think). I mentioned it to my husband and his response was, "Yeah, that's always been a problem."
I won't be bullied my p.c. linguists. I don't use they to refer to one person.
Whatevvs. Less confusing than a "genderless" he.
I recall starting to read what I thought would be an interesting book some years ago. The author insisted on using his(?)coinage "heshe" in the genderless they situations. My brain insisted on reading it as the diminutive nickname for "Herschel". I threw the book in the trash, would have given it the Nero Wolfe Webster's Third treatment if I'd had a fire going at the time.
by, not my.
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