Originally Posted by bigjantailor
[...]As far as I'm concerned if we can stop using words in everyday language that hurt other peoples we can start using a word that includes the 51% of the population not represented by he, even if the guys at the Oxford Dic think he is the right word.
English is great because it can change - who care what the Queen has to say about (unless she's on my side).[...]
And it is changing, just not always as you might expect. It is not at all unusual for existing words to take on new duties over time, and that is what has been happening with they (etc.). I don't see any particular need to fight the trend, as writers we simply do our best to keep up - which, I would add, is also the role of the people that maintain dictionaries: they don't make the rules, they reflect them and update them as trends change. Such a catch up position necessarily has them potentially lag behind the times, but I still prefer to trust such sources than to try and make my own best guess.