"Very important. General rule for English speakers - if you don’t do it in the human context, don’t do it in the nonhuman context.
Just make a little effort to say “she or he” or “her or him” if you don’t know the sex. It’s a little effort with a very important social message.
Nonhuman animals are *persons*, not *things*. Therefore, we should refer to a nonhuman animal as a “she” or “he,” never as an “it.””
Except they’re not people. Animals aren’t sapient in any way we can understand, except for perhaps elephants, dolphins, and some apes. It’s still reasonable to say ‘he or she’ or ‘her or him’ as a type of respect or care, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that animals are people. I mean, I’m all for treating other sapients as equals, but some things, like the chick above, doesn’t consider itself with any sort of judgement or selfawareness.