The term “neopreneone” may sound foreign or something just introduced, but according to Bonikowski, neopreneons have actually been around since the mid-1800s. For example, the neopreneous “thon” was a larger one of earlier times: “thon” – abbreviated to “that one” – was introduced in 1858 and served as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun. It was even added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 1934 but was removed in 1961.
Although most of these neo-pronouns have ceased to be used or are no longer used – such as “Hasher” and “J” – Bonikowski notes that people have been trying to tinker with pronouns for centuries to reflect gender neutrality. “Since the mid-1600s, English language style guides have also promoted the use of ‘generic hi’ to include any single person in the third person of any gender,” she explains. “In the 1970s and 80s, probably related to second wave feminism, Generic She ‘used some writers. Some people use ‘she’ and alternate between using ‘she’, or write the long phrase ‘he or she’ consistently. Fancy forms like ‘s / he’ were used in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. “
Throughout history, even neopronomics have been created by state legislatures and pressured to make it clear that laws should apply to anyone (where “generic she” can only be read as applicable to men), he continued. Some Newspapers and Universities Have Promoted the Use of Neoprene: The Book by Linguist Dennis Baron What’s your pronoun ?: Beyond He and SheThe Sacramento bee has been using “diamonds” for almost 30 years, beginning in the 1920s, and Mississippi even enjoyed a bill proposed in 1922 to adopt the pronoun “hash / hisar / himar” which failed in just one vote.
More recently, single “stars” have enjoyed a wide acceptance, even in edited, published writing. It is used by many non-binary people, although it is still used by others for an indefinite single reference. Neoprene, however, is now primarily used by non-binary people. And things have also improved significantly with the inclusion of neoprene: the Oxford English Dictionary has added neoprene “ze” and “thon” in 2018 and “hir” and “zir” in 2019. In 2021, AI Writing Assistant added grammarly support for neopreneons, including xe / xem, ze / zir, ve / ver, and ney / nem. And social media sites like Facebook and Instagram allow users to choose from more than 50 gender identities. Still, we have a way to go.