The company Merriam-Webster has added a new definition of the pronoun "they" to its Webster's Dictionary. It lists the word "they" as referring to a "single person whose gender identity is non-binary". This is good news for non-binary people - those who identify neither as male nor female. Many institutions already use a gender-neutral option on their official forms. More local governments, schools and airlines are introducing the choice of "X" for people who do not consider themselves as male or female, and for gender fluid people who switch between genders.
Merriam-Webster stated that the use of "they" for "he" or "she" recognizes people who did not "conform to an expected gender expression, or who seemed to be neither male nor female". It said it "struggled" to describe these people with the right pronouns. It says the word "they" was used as a singular pronoun in the late 1300s. Shakespeare used it in this way in the 17th century. In 1898, a playwright wrote in his play Antony and Cleopatra that: "No man goes to battle to be killed....But they do get killed." Many people use the singular "they" in casual conversation today.