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Which one is correct:

  1. A child born today inherits a world vastly different from that of its parent’s generation.
  2. A child born today inherits a world vastly different from that of his parent’s generation.

I found the first version of the sentence in a book. But my humble knowledge of English language says it must be written his instead of its.

What do you think and why?

EDIT:

The posts given on Is referring to people as "it" considered rude? do not answer my question because all the answers refer to rudeness and anger such as in the accepted one: this is something that would be said only in the heat of anger. But the author of the book is not trying to offend anybody.

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    a wise child knows his own father gets an estimated 62 hits in Google Books, but a wise child knows its own father gets 256. Personally I think avoiding "impersonal, objectfying" its in such contexts is just a bit prissy - whereas ...knows his or her father is the absolute pits in terms of "political correctness". – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 19 '17 at 16:30
  • Very interesting feeback. It is really weird to see from your links that its is more used in this cas.Thank you a lot @FumbleFingers – Billal Begueradj Feb 19 '17 at 16:32
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    I didn't bother looking at the dates (change over time) for those examples, but I wouldn't necessarily assume the later ones are more likely to "hypercorrect" contexts like your example. Where exactly one draws the line varies, obviously, but I doubt anyone would entertain, say, A slave knows its master except as an outrageously facetious / offensive twisting of natural English. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 19 '17 at 16:48
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Grammatically you can use either, but you may want to choose to just use his, her, or his/her.

If you are referring to any child in general then you can reasonably use the word its, although you may prefer to use the child's or even better (for political correctness), his/her.

  1. A child born today inherits a world vastly different from that of the child's parent’s generation.

  2. A child born today inherits a world vastly different from that of his/her parent’s generation.

However, if you are referring to a specific baby and you know its sex, for the reasons @Robusto gave in this answer, it may be more politically correct to use the word his or her.

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    Can I ask why the downvote? – Chris Rogers Feb 19 '17 at 16:23
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    grammatically you can use either. For political correctness you may choose to just use his, her, or his/her. – Chris Rogers Feb 19 '17 at 16:27
  • A newly born baby is often referred as "it". Maybe this was what the author meant - today, (almost) literally – Victor B. Feb 19 '17 at 17:35
  • @Rompey - A newborn is still a he or she. Babies are not generally born under both sexes although obviously there are exceptions with intersex babies. – Chris Rogers Feb 19 '17 at 17:37
  • I don't think that the gender of the baby was important to the author of the sentence the PO cited. A newborn was meant, thanks – Victor B. Feb 19 '17 at 17:44
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As the other answer said, "his," "his or her" and "its" are all correct. There are also writers who alternate between "his" and "her" throughout a text.

I'd like to mention another possibility: "their parents' generation."

This use of "their" is controversial. It is claimed by its opponents to be incorrect. However, it is widely used by well-educated people who are good writers, at all levels of formality.

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