I just found myself in situation that I am telling about someone who added to me in Skype: because of the nickname I think that it is a girl and used all the time the word «she». But as she didn't say anything yet with exception the "hey :)", I can't even be sure it is a human (it is could be just a bot). So I am afraid that talking about her by using «she» could lead to misunderstanding. Shall I use the word «it»? Or is it wrong? Is there another way?

E.g. in Russian a sex have any noun, so I can say «she» and mean «the person» because the «person» have feminine gender. Either I can say «he», and mean «the one», because it is male gender. So, this way I don't confuse my interlocutor about my knowledge about a person's sex.

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    Just form all your sentences to use "you" or use the known "nickname" directly. Saturday Night Live had a series of skits where they couldn't tell whether Pat was a girl or a boy and they went to great lengths to try and trap Pat into revealing Pat's sex without betraying the fact they didn't know. They never worked, but you might get some ideas on how to drag it out of your unknown. screen.yahoo.com/pat-physical-evaluation-000000921.html
    – Jim
    Sep 14 '14 at 19:58

As Maulik V pointed out in a comment, and as this ELU link perfectly explains (and because I don't have enough rep to post only a comment when a comment is due), you can refer to this person as


as in

singular they

which despite not being taught in schools around the world, is perfectly valid for referring to a single person.


By no means you refer 'it' to humans unless you really consider them a table or a car! :) Now, when you want a term while talking to that person, you certainly use the pronoun 'you' and to my knowledge, you can talk to her/him for years without addressing the anonymous with s/he. Consider, you and I are talking, and I'm a man; you find rare context to use he for me in any conversation because here, you are talking to a second person and you use the second person pronoun.

If you are talking to your friend and want to mention the epicene, simply using person would work. For instance, "On my Skype, there's a person (nick)named X." You may, though in an informal way, refer that person to anom. Say, "On my Skype, there's a person chatting with me for more than a month and you know what, I still don't know whether the anom. is 'he' or 'she'! Funny, isn't it?" You may call that person anonymous which has no gender.

As I said, the word epicene also denotes a person whose gender is unknown to you as the case here. You may, again informally, say that the person on your Skype is still an epicene. However, it then becomes a grammatical context.

  • Epicene. Hm. That's interesting. Also after I asked the question, I found this questions/answers being linked here, that's in summary gives to me fuller information about the question, so I think it is answered now. But before tell me about the word «epicene»: is it widely used in the sense of referring to one which sex I do not know? I just found that it is also a synonym to the «hermaphrodite», so I am afraid a confusion.
    – Hi-Angel
    Sep 15 '14 at 6:23
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    No no...hermaphrodite is an offensive word. Epicene has been used to denote the neutral gender especially in grammar. For instance, You can use the 'singular they' in case of the noun is epicene -- If a customer comes to your shop, you must welcome 'them'.
    – Maulik V
    Sep 15 '14 at 6:31
  • @MaulikV Quite right, hermaphrodite is considered offensive these days when applied to humans. It's appropriate for describing species of animals, though―I can say my pet snails are hermaphroditic without offending anyone. In that context it's biology jargon, like gonochoristic or dioecious.
    – user230
    Sep 15 '14 at 7:37
  • I'm sorry, but it seems that Mina's answer more correct and useful than your one. So for the sake of justice I should choose their (@Mina ;) one.
    – Hi-Angel
    Sep 15 '14 at 9:22
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    In the case of your anom, example, this is actually one of the cases where "it" is acceptable. "and you know what, I still don't know whether it's 'he' or 'she'!" May 28 '15 at 17:20

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