In a recent article about the great radical bookstore Bluestockings in New York, a NY Times journalist used the gender-neutral courtesy term "Mx." rather than "Mrs." or "Mr." The Times received lots of inquiries from readers about this term, so the paper's associate masthead editor for standards, Philip B. Corbett, wrote a delightfully non-pedantic explanation of the paper's stylistic stance on gender-neutral language. Check out an excerpt below, or the full explanation here.
Usage is unsettled and evolving. “Mx.” has gained some acceptance, but it remains unfamiliar to many readers. (Of course, most news organizations don’t use courtesy titles, which allows them to avoid that issue.)
Even more daunting is the problem of pronouns. Some people advocate “they” as a gender-neutral pronoun to refer to a single individual, while others have suggested invented alternatives like “ze” or “xe.”
In this as in other areas of language and usage, The Times is not looking to lead the way, set the rules or break new ground. Our hope is to reflect accepted, standard usage among educated readers.
At a time when usage is unsettled or shifting, that puts us in an awkward holding pattern. A number of outside media writers have asked me some version of “What is The Times’s policy/rule/decision on Mx., or on nongendered pronouns?” The answer, for now, is that we don’t have a rule.
Our style guideline, assuming we eventually adopt one, will try to reflect the language that our readers and society at large are already using — not to dictate what The Times thinks people should do.