Throughout her novel, Ursula LeGuin mainly uses the masculine set of pronouns, he and him. This seems strange for a novel set on winter, an androgyne world. Why did LeGuin not create her own set of gender pronouns for use in the novel? Couldn't the use of such words lessen the bias that the reader had to a specific gender? LeGuin had many reasons for her choice of pronouns, and use of he as the main pronoun helps rather than hurts the book.
On reason for the use of he instead of she is to counteract her natural bias. The left hand of darkness was one of LeGuin's first books. Her skills as a writer had not matured yet, so, writing characters as a specific gender was difficult. Just as in science fiction written by men with women heroines, science fiction about men written by women tends to trivialize the parts, an characterize them as stereotypes rather than characters in their own right. Worse than that, especially with characters written in first person, they may take on some of the traits of the writer. This leads to male characters appearing female. In the first chapter, Genly appears female, because that was how he seemed written. The use of male pronouns however, quickly disabused me of that notion and allowed me to think him equal, and a more gender balanced character. Estraven, written as an androgyne, appeared completely male in the first part of the book. This was helped by the usage of the male pronouns whenever referring to him. However, when LeGuin started writing Estraven with first person narrative, he seemed more feminine. This was mostly because he was written by LeGuin, whose traits seeped into her writing.
Had LeGuin felt it necessary to invent a set of gender neutral pronouns, she would have. She invented so many terms for use in the novel hat a few more would have been completely acceptable, and maybe even useful. For instance, she coined the terms ansible, a term still in use today, Ekumen, and the days weeks and months of her fictional cultures. The creation of a few gender unspecific pronouns would not have been difficult. LeGuin had created most of her invented terms in Gethenian languages. There were gender unspecific terms in those languages, so she could easily have pulled them out and stated that they were now used in English too. But Genly never uses that sort of pronoun. Instead he uses he or LeGuin writing uses he. This is to draw attention to something specific about Homo sapiens, current life on earth. Faced with a gender that is impossible to understand normally, the human response is not to categorize it as something new, but rather to try to pigeonhole it into something old that already exists. Throughout the first part of the novel, Genly categorizes anyone he meets into a gender. He has a landlady, the men in the government are well, men, and so on. He is categorizing something that really should not be categorized in that way. LeGuin is pointing out a fallacy in the human condition when she categorizes her androgyne characters with the pronoun he.
Of course, even with all her reasons, the use of he throughout LeGuin's novel can lead to complications. The novel has not always been interpreted as a feminist novel, even though igender equality is on of its main tenets. In her novel Winter's King, she originally used he in instance of gender pronoun. Later, she switched it to she in every case for dome parity. Overall though, LeGuin did a good job of using gender pronouns in her work.