“The person has lost their job.” Why, here do we say “their job” not “his job”?


“The person has lost their job.”  Why, here do we say “their job” not “his job”?


This is a fantastic question.

In times gone by, we would use he, but nowadays that is seen as potentially sexist and presumptuous of gender.

It’s unfair to assume that the person in the sentence is a man. That could imply many things about the sentence. It could be seen to imply that because the person had a job, that they can only be a man. It could also imply that the person lost their job just because they were a man.

To avoid all this, you can use they or their as gender neutral singular pronouns. 

Another option would have been to say:

The person has lost his or her job.

but this is very wordy and rather frustrating to write out 100 times in a paragraph. It’s much easier to just say their.

If you write it more neutrally, nobody can make assumptions as to what you are really saying. This is called being politically correct and is something that is very common in modern English.

The important thing to realise is that, even though it looks incorrect, it is now accepted as correct in modern English.

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