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I can't say this has ever been a significant issue for me in twenty years of technical writing. You are rarely if ever writing about the user, but are generally writing to them, and thus the operative pronoun (often implied) is generally "you."

In some situations, you might end up writing to one user about another user—for example, when your audience consists of system administrators or developers, who will be concerned about users of their systems or applications. But even here, the need to use third-person singular pronouns comes up less frequently than you might think. For example:

User:  Class representing a user account on the system.

       FIELDS
       name          The user's full name
       mail          The user's mail address
       password      The user's password
       groups        List of groups to which the user belongs
       permissions   List of permissions available to the user
       expiry        Date on which the user's account expired or will expire
       admins        List of users who may edit or delete the account

       METHODS
       register()    Registers a new user account in the system directory
       update()      Writes a modified user account in the system directory
       delete()      Permanently deletes a user account from the system directory

The only pronoun used in that snippet of API documentation, which is about a user class, is "who." It is not at all necessary to write it like this:

User:  Class representing a user account on the system.

       FIELDS
       name          His or her full name
       mail          His or her mail address

... etc.

In fact, saying "the user" each time is arguably better because it allows the reader to skim for the information they're interested in without having to keep track of possible antecedents for pronouns. The phrase "the user" in a computer manual is like "said" in fiction: mostly invisible, and almost always far less intrusive than attempts to avoid it.

In my experience, the issue simply comes up infrequently enough that the well-worn workarounds suffice. I typically just use "he or she," or else recast the sentence to be plural and use "they," or rewrite the sentence in some other way that usually is even clearer.

I can't say this has ever been a significant issue for me in twenty years of technical writing. You are rarely if ever writing about the user, but are generally writing to them.

In some situations, you might end up writing to one user about another user—for example, when your audience consists of system administrators or developers, who will be concerned about users of their systems or applications. But even here, the need to use third-person singular pronouns comes up less frequently than you might think. For example:

User:  Class representing a user account on the system.

       FIELDS
       name          The user's full name
       mail          The user's mail address
       password      The user's password
       groups        List of groups to which the user belongs
       permissions   List of permissions available to the user
       expiry        Date on which the user's account expired or will expire
       admins        List of users who may edit or delete the account

       METHODS
       register()    Registers a new user account in the system directory
       update()      Writes a modified user account in the system directory
       delete()      Permanently deletes a user account from the system directory

The only pronoun used in that snippet of API documentation, which is about a user class, is "who." It is not at all necessary to write it like this:

User:  Class representing a user account on the system.

       FIELDS
       name          His or her full name
       mail          His or her mail address

... etc.

In fact, saying "the user" each time is arguably better because it allows the reader to skim for the information they're interested in without having to keep track of possible antecedents for pronouns. The phrase "the user" in a computer manual is like "said" in fiction: mostly invisible, and almost always far less intrusive than attempts to avoid it.

In my experience, the issue simply comes up infrequently enough that the well-worn workarounds suffice. I typically just use "he or she," or else recast the sentence to be plural and use "they," or rewrite the sentence in some other way that usually is even clearer.

I can't say this has ever been a significant issue for me in twenty years of technical writing. You are rarely if ever writing about the user, but are generally writing to them, and thus the operative pronoun (often implied) is generally "you."

In some situations, you might end up writing to one user about another user—for example, when your audience consists of system administrators or developers, who will be concerned about users of their systems or applications. But even here, the need to use third-person singular pronouns comes up less frequently than you might think. For example:

User:  Class representing a user account on the system.

       FIELDS
       name          The user's full name
       mail          The user's mail address
       password      The user's password
       groups        List of groups to which the user belongs
       permissions   List of permissions available to the user
       expiry        Date on which the user's account expired or will expire
       admins        List of users who may edit or delete the account

       METHODS
       register()    Registers a new user account in the system directory
       update()      Writes a modified user account in the system directory
       delete()      Permanently deletes a user account from the system directory

The only pronoun used in that snippet of API documentation, which is about a user class, is "who." It is not at all necessary to write it like this:

User:  Class representing a user account on the system.

       FIELDS
       name          His or her full name
       mail          His or her mail address

... etc.

In fact, saying "the user" each time is arguably better because it allows the reader to skim for the information they're interested in without having to keep track of possible antecedents for pronouns. The phrase "the user" in a computer manual is like "said" in fiction: mostly invisible, and almost always far less intrusive than attempts to avoid it.

In my experience, the issue simply comes up infrequently enough that the well-worn workarounds suffice. I typically just use "he or she," or else recast the sentence to be plural and use "they," or rewrite the sentence in some other way that usually is even clearer.

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I can't say this has ever been a significant issue for me in twenty years of technical writing. You are rarely if ever writing about the user, but are generally writing to them.

In some situations, you might end up writing to one user about another user—for example, when your audience consists of system administrators or developers, who will be concerned about users of their systems or applications. But even here, the need to use third-person singular pronouns comes up less frequently than you might think. For example:

User:  Class representing a user account on the system.

       FIELDS
       name          The user's full name
       mail          The user's mail address
       password      The user's password
       groups        List of groups to which the user belongs
       permissions   List of permissions available to the user
       expiry        Date on which the user's account expired or will expire
       admins        List of users who may edit or delete the account

       METHODS
       register()    Registers a new user account in the system directory
       update()      Writes a modified user account in the system directory
       delete()      Permanently deletes a user account from the system directory

The only pronoun used in that snippet of API documentation, which is about a user class, is "who." It is not at all necessary to write it like this:

User:  Class representing a user account on the system.

       FIELDS
       name          His or her full name
       mail          His or her mail address

... etc.

In fact, saying "the user" each time is arguably better because it allows the reader to skim for the information they're interested in without having to keep track of possible antecedents for pronouns. The phrase "the user" in a computer manual is like "said" in fiction: mostly invisible, and almost always far less intrusive than attempts to avoid it.

In my experience, the issue simply comes up infrequently enough that the well-worn workarounds suffice. I typically just use "he or she," or else recast the sentence to be plural and use "they," or rewrite the sentence in some other way that usually is even clearer.