Grand Teuton Linguistic Musings #2
What are personal pronouns?
There are two uses beyond the simple substitution of 
he for Bruce or 
she for Sheila
for example.
And those are?
The singular indefinite pronoun and the singular pronoun of personification.
I thought you'd never ask.
'He' is the singular indefinite pronoun in English ("if a person drinks too much, he will likely experience a hangover"). 'He' also happens to be the masculine personal pronoun.
Oh - and the other one?
'She' is the singular pronoun of personification in English ("if England fails to advance America's foreign-policy ambitions, she will suffer terrible consequences"). 'She' also happens to be the feminine personal pronoun.
Oh - so ...?
Confusing the two exhibits not a warm-and-fuzzy concern for the inclusion of women so much as a writer's or speaker's ignorance. Using the feminine personal pronoun as an indefinite article is as moronic as using the masculine personal pronoun for personification. Thus the captain greets us: "Welcome to my ship. Isn't he splendid?"
I mean, give it up, people. It's not thoughtful; it's just illiterate.
Ah.  That does sound a bit stupid.
I thought you'd see it my way.
It seems I always do.
btw - many thanks to Thomas C. Greene of the Register for his unusually grammatical (at least for the Register) analysis of this topic.
Last Update: 11 July 2002