It is currently treated as a neologism by Swedish manuals of style.
Inthe early use of the word prompted reactions of ridicule and skepticism. While Swedish and Danish historically had the same set of three grammatical genders as modern Germanwith masculine, feminine and neuter, the three-gender system fell out of use from the dialects out of which the respective standard languages were developing sometime in the late Middle Ages. Egaliaa preschool in Södermalman upper middle-class borough in central Stockholmhad been at the forefront of gender-neutral pedagogyand quickly adopted the use of hen. In commenting on the debate afterwards, Arnholm described the word as "a practical way of simplifying" and "a smart way of developing language". The Swedish language has a set of personal pronouns which is more or less identical in form to that of English. By contrast, words like barn "child" which belong to the neuter gender would be referred to with the pronoun det.