This one is not so much an over-correction as it is grammar meets political correctness.
Hear ye, hear ye, one and all! The English language does not have a gender neutral singular personal pronoun that is used for human beings. That, unfortunately (I guess?), means that you have to PICK a gender and not assign a gender neutral plural personal pronoun in it’s place when you need to, well, use a pronoun. Today’s example from the radio:
Please help a student who is trying to better themselves.
Listen up, folks. Language is not science and it doesn’t always keep pace with political correctness. “A STUDENT” is singular. If you are going to follow this antecedent with a personal pronoun, it must agree in gender and number with the noun. What’s the gender of “a student”, you ask? PICK one!! Imagine the student you are speaking of and give HER a gender. See. I imagined a girl and therefore the pronoun to refer to my student is her (or she, hers or herself depending on what I’m saying about HER.)
The sentence I heard this morning was a PSA. Someone had to approve that!! Do better, people. Will ya?
Would I love to just refer to some people as “it”? Of course I would, and I think it would be fitting. However, English as we know it today does not permit that. Change it if you like. Let’s start a ” Use ‘it’ for people” revolution. But, until it catches on, please make sure your pronouns agree with their antecedents in gender and number.
Thank you kindly.