America’s oldest dictionary Merriam-Webster follows on the footsteps of the ‘Oxford English Dictionary’ and dictionary.com and recognized ‘they’ as a singular gender-neutral pronoun.
“The recognition of “they” as a singular, non-gender-specific pronoun comes as its usage grows in popularity, especially among people who identify as neither male nor female. However, these adoptees frequently face critics who claim the usage is not “grammatically correct”,” ‘The Guardian’ reported.
Merriam-Webster wrote: “We will note that ‘they’ has been in consistent use as a singular pronoun since the late 1300s; that the development of singular ‘they’ mirrors the development of the singular ‘you’ from the plural ‘you’, yet we don’t complain that singular ‘you’ is ungrammatical; and that regardless of what detractors say, nearly everyone uses the singular ‘they’ in casual conversation and often in formal writing”.
Senior editor at Merriam-Webster, Emily Brewster said: “Merriam-Webster does not try to be at the vanguard of change in the language.” But, she noted: “Over the past few decades, there has been so much evidence that this is a fully established use of ‘they’ in the English language. This is not new.”