Of course, we never took up the practice of using “they” in singular. So the English language may not have need for an equivalent to hen, assuming the resistance to singular “they” would just go away. If it was good enough for Jane Austen, who isn’t it good enough for?
Interesting Rhoderic however “hen” in the northern English vernacular refers to girl / women. So we can’t use that one.
I did say “equivalent to”. And I certainly hope you don’t refer to men by the word for the male equivalent of so said animal
The English meaning of hen has indeed been used by some people in Sweden to mock the word. The best retort I’ve seen to that is this: LINK. (“When a random dude posts this on Twitter” [first picture] “…and I’m like” [second picture]). The humour of it is that the regular age-old Swedish word for “child” in a gender-neutral sense is barn (cognate, you’ll no doubt have recognised, with the Scottish and northern English “bairn”).
Of the discussions I’ve read on this subject, this is one of the more interesting ones, it is by far the least argumentative, headed, and distracted of them. Good example of TWW. Cheers, The Bandit
It’s been an enlightening thread, too. I especially appreciate the discussion on grammatical gender in French. A bit more of the French language has clicked into place in my mind, now.