>"they" doesn't always sound naturally plural to me. i'm hoping it can stretch to cover singular as well.
tsuwm, is it really such a horrendous stretch?
in both cases i mentioned above?

for me both cases are quivalent, I suppose because it was drummed into my head that "the soldier" and "everyone" are equally singular. but no. it is not a horrendous stretch.

my point (and it was the whole reason for starting this thread) was that some of these issues MIGHT be best resolved by just leaving things the way they are. and of course, time will tell -- but if teachers are FORCED to change the "rules", that will certainly influence the outcome. and now, magically, a new topic suggests itself....

p.s. - hey jazzo, don't look now but this thread is gaining on the "graduation" thread -- but I'm sure it won't have the legs that that one has.