The Child is Father to the Patient

“Faced with a limited amount of food, [the developing fetus] has choices about how to use it. Dr Barker’s suggestion is that food will be allocated in ways that give an individual the best chance in early life, at the expense of later years when he will have had children and might, indeed, have died of something else…. a fetus takes its cue about what it will eat after it is weaned from its mother’s physiology, and adapts accordingly. In this case, disease is caused when the prediction is wrong.” —The Child is Father to the Patient  (The Economist)

The editors should brush up on gender-neutral language. It’s not just in the headline… it’s strange that the fetus is carefully described as “it”, while as an adult the same person is described as “he” — gender is determined at the moment of conception, so this pronoun usage seems both editorially and scientifically inconsistent.