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I was reading a book and this came up:

Man has programmed machines to transcend their limitations.

and I got confused that whether the author is referring to man or machines? Can we use their as a pronoun for man as humankind? So can anyone say what are the pronouns for man as humankind?

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"Their" is the plural possessive. "Man" is singular and masculine, meaning the possessive pronoun should be his.

Man has programmed machines to transcend his limitations.

So "their" must refer to machines. But suppose the writer instead used men, or the gender-neutral people, or something similar:

Humans have programmed machines to transcend their limitations.

In this case, "their" is completely ambiguous. You'd have to figure out which it refers to from the context, or just take your best guess.

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