I'm auditing a seminar on language, me and four male undergraduates. The first session I got to, having been abroad for the start of the quarter, was about gender. I wondered aloud why there were words like "man" and "woman," since we don't need them to talk about mice, for instance, except when sexing them for an experiment; ie, for the needs of breeding. The professor said he'd asked himself the same question.
Now I read that Swedish schools, alarmed by the persistence of gendered differences and outcomes in primary schools, having filmed classes and discovered that adults hugged and consoled girls, when something was awry, but told boys to get on with it (etc.), have banished the terms, boy and girl, he and she (etc) and henceforth everyone will be "a person" / gender neutral pronoun.
The persimmons are ripening on the tree between the library and the bookstore, and this afternoon I plan to do a little foraging with my long-necked picker.