Let's imagine a situation in which there are two males in a room, and we read:
John laid his hand on his shoulder.
It's clear that John is not laying his hand on his own shoulder but on that of the other male he's dealing with. Still, I'd like to know whether this kind of sentence is frowned at by some, or if it's perfectly fine. I know that most of the time the second pronoun can be avoided, like:
John laid his hand on Tim's shoulder.
John laid his hand on the orphan's shoulder. (assuming Tim is an orphan and we don't want to repeat the name we already wrote in the previous sentence)
But in some cases, I just would like to write a plain "his". Does it sound so bad?