This year marks a new language shift in how English speakers use pronouns

Gretchen McCulloch in Quartz:

ScreenHunter_1579 Dec. 23 08.09You’ve probably come across the singular pronoun “they” recently. Perhaps it was in the Washington Post’s recent addition of it to the paper’s style guide. Perhaps it was in this BBC article about gender-neutral pronouns. Perhaps it was in this viral Tumblr post comparing singular “they” to singular “you.” Wherever the source, singular “they” has become more popular in 2015 than ever before–so popular, in fact, that it’s Quartz’s (unofficial) nomination for Word of the Year.

Let’s clear something up right away. Using “they” to refer to a single person isn’t new, but words of the year rarely are. Rather, this usage has been simmering for many years, finally bursting onto the scene this year with a newfound prominence. And just in time, too. Language can and should keep up with cultural shifts, including developments in society’s understanding of gender. While some holdout grammarians and copy editors might squirm, it’s become increasingly clear that our current pronoun palette simply isn’t sufficient. Luckily, we already have a perfectly good word at the ready.

More here.