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use of pronoun

use of pronoun

In informal English the pronoun "you" is often used to indicate an indefinite person, not necessarily the reader or listener. This can be mildly offensive, for example:

When you make a mistake....
It is preferable to use third person:
When one makes a mistake...
When an engineer makes a mistake....
Other synonyms for this usage of "you" include "a person", "people", etc.

The usage of "you" often results in childish constructions that indicate personal involvement of the reader when it is unnecessary or inappropriate:
When you apply a greater electric field....
should be
When the electric field is more intense....

Avoid sexist language. Because most scientists and engineers are male, one sometimes inadvertently uses a masculine pronoun to refer to a general technical person, for example:
An engineer should recognize that he represents his profession to the public.
A simple fix is to use the plural form, which is the same for masculine and feminine:
Engineers represent their profession to the public.
We represent our profession to the public.