Dennis Baron calls it the word that failed.
Baron, a professor of linguistics at the University of Illinois, has been monitoring the development of epicene—that is, gender-neutral, third-person singular pronouns—since the 1986 publication of his book Grammar and Gender.
I don’t know why I find this so interesting, but I do. I guess it’s along the lines of my longstanding consternation with the inherent gender bias with “husband” and “wife.” Michelangelo Signorile wrote about this recently, and I feel much of the same consternation that he does. And there’s even more eye-rolling with epicene pronouns.
Most of that, I assume, is because English is a language filled with nuance. Someday I’ll become comfortable calling my husband my husband, but I doubt I’ll ever feel comfortable using the alleged pronoun “e.”