If there's some logic here, there seems to have been rather less in the convention that made machinery feminine in the first place. Was it the feeling that machinery was unpredictable, which was what chauvinistic men too often thought of women? Or that it was wonderful and mysterious, even loveable? ('The old girl's going well today", as motorists used to say.) I prefer the latter explanation. The 17th century musketeer called his firearm "her" because he cherished it, not because he thought little of it. The good things of life - love, beauty, wisdom - were always personified as female. In the ancient world they were goddesses.
I'm rather sorry ships are being neutered, but at least it gets rid of a bit of awkward grammar. "The liner, which broke her moorings..." Shouldn't it be "who"? Well, no. The fact is that we've forgotten why ships are feminine; we've stopped thinking of them like that, just as we no longer call the sun "he".Reuse content