Referring to X (plural) units of Y as an “it”

I am reading The White Spider, a book on mountain climbing, and I got hung up on this passage which sounded wrong, although I can see why it isn’t… Herman couldn’t be expected to hear him in that raging tempest; nor could he have come down a hundred feet of hard-won ground again, after such … Read more

Is it appropriate to refer to a person of unknown sex by “it”?

I would like to treat a user as a non-gender noun and refer to it with the gender-neutral pronoun, it. E.g., The user defines two variables, x and y. It then multiplies each variable by a prime number. However, on Wikipedia I found this: The word “it”, however, has an extremely impersonal connotation, even offensive, … Read more