Old-fashioned gendered pronouns are on the way out. New Paltz Town Council members have decided to replace words like “he” and “her” with forms of the pronoun “they” in all of the personnel policies. Singular third-person pronouns provide a grammatical shortcut to refer to a person previously named, but in English these words include a gender value, which is relevant only in narrow circumstances. Just as the generic “he” gradually was placed with some form of “he or she” in decades past, those pronouns are now, too, being replaced.
Supervisor Neil Bettez hopes that once the language is updated in those policies, that similar changes may be put into union contracts as each is negotiated.