3

He and she in Mandarin looks like this:

Male tā: 他

Female tā: 她

What would a non-binary tā look like? 也?

它 is for animals and inanimate objects, not exactly fitting.

祂 is for gods, not really appropriate.

牠 is the same as 它.


For practicality purposes 你 could work the same:

male nǐ: 你

female nǐ: 妳

non-binary nǐ: 尔?

  • 你 is used for both male and female. 妳 is seldom used. There is no TA which can be used for both male and female (except when one does not know the gender, usually 他 is the default). – fefe Nov 1 '17 at 4:09
  • -:)) ‘He and see’ ? 他, 见? ‘ – Pedroski Nov 1 '17 at 22:05
  • @fefe I believe 妳 is used much more frequently in Taiwan than on the mainland. – Philipp Nov 6 '17 at 15:10
7

The best candidate for a non-binary TA is in fact . This is particularly obvious in the word 他們 (them), which definitely does not refer to a group of specifically males. 他 did not acquire the specific meaning he until well after was invented, and 他 originally was a generic word meaning other (e.g. 他人 the other person).

她 did not actually exist before the new culture movement; its creation was from the direct influence from European languages. This is commonly seen in older popular novels like Dream of the Red Chamber, where 她 makes no appearances and it is incorrect to assume that 他 means he or him.

Note: In Taiwan, 他 is still sometimes used to refer to both he/him and she/her, although this practice is declining.

2

TA (exactly what you see here in Pinyin, not in Chinese character) is widely used by media in China when the gender is not certain. For example:

孩子的眼睛需要你和TA共同守护
孩子的眼睛需要你和TA共同守护
news.youth.cn

你 is good for both sexes in mainland China, in Taiwan and Hong Kong, some people like to change the left side to be a 女 if it refers to a female, but with too much exchange and communication with mainland, things have been changed.

Also in mainland, there is not a special word for the third person noun for God or deities or fairies.

  • This is actually a really good answer, but it seems to have gone underappreciated. I added an example to make the first sentence more apparent. – Becky 李蓓 Oct 15 '19 at 5:45

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