The abrupt use of "he" or "she" -- is it rude?

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OED Loves Me Not

Senior Member
Japanese - Osaka
Hello, language lovers!

Now, the context:

(1) You and I are talking. Some time later, a man (or woman) comes, greets us,
and stays close to us, without particularly joining our conversation. But he (or she)
IS hearing us talk.

(2) You and I are still talking. Then,
without prior mention of the man (or woman) standing close to us,
I say to you,
"He (or She) went to Disneyland the other day."
or maybe,
"I went to Disneyland with him (or her) the other day."

(3) I believe that, in this context, it is better to state
his or her name (or perhaps to say "my friend")
instead of just "he (she) or him (or her)."

(4) Am I right in believing so? One more thing, can it by any chance
be rude to say just "he (or she)" or "him (or her)" in this context
(without prior mention of my friend standing close to us)?

(5) If I remember correctly, I once saw in a couple of movies or dramas
where, in a similar context, someone said that it was rude to
call the target person just "he (or she)." Of course, however,
it's quite all right (and even natural) to call them "he or she"
next time you refer to them.

(6) In short, is it all right for me to believe the following?
  (a) When you refer to a person for the first time, you should
  call them by their name (or call them "somebody's friend"
  or "this gentleman" or something else featuring a noun.
  (b) You sound rude if you call them "he or "she"
  in that context.

(7) I'd appreciate your inputs concerning my question
or anything remotely related to it.
 
Last edited:
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    (3) I believe that, in this context, it is better to state
    his or her name (or perhaps to say "my friend")
    instead of just "he (she) or him (or her)."
    I agree that this is a good choice. If the two of you are friends, your friend will probably not mind if you use "he" or "she" instead of a name. If you don't know the other person well, it's probably safer and more polite to use that person's name.

    (4) Am I right in believing so? One more thing, can it by any chance
    be rude to say just "he (or she)" or "him (or her)" in this context
    (without prior mention of my friend standing close to us)?
    People vary widely in their thoughts about what is rude. Some people are not easily offended. Other people are easily offended.

    (5) If I remember correctly, I once saw in a couple of movies or dramas
    where, in a similar context, someone said that it was rude to
    call the target person just "he (or she)."
    This doesn't surprise me. Some people may believe that it is always rude to refer to a new arrival as "he" or "she". I don't believe that, but I tend to use a person's name in this situation.
     
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