- is, ea, id : no particular connotation
- hic, haec, hoc : this one (here), near to the speaker
- iste, ista, istud : that one (there), a bit further - or that "bad" one (pejorative connotation)
- ille, illa, illud : that one (over there), further - or that "great" one (laudative connotation)
What does "save" (servat and servo) mean in the sentence? I usually think of "saving" as rescuing ("I saved her from an attack") and sometimes as preserving (when dealing with things, like "I saved money to buy a car"). I could not understand the meaning of "save" in this sentence; would it be "watch over"?
Last time I checked, Latin has no gender-neutral pronoun (or something like that). That idea doesn't exist in Latin. You must assume the gender of people you are referring to all the time. Some schools suggest the use of masculine words like ille or is for a group of mixed gender, following the logic of current Romance languages. But also, it's just a suggestion. Some also suggest to paraphrase the sentence in different way like passive structure to omit using pronoun at all.
Latin does indeed have neuter pronouns. Suum is the nominative neuter of the reflexive, and Id is the nominative neuter of the direct, which you mentioned. (Is is the masculine of Id) Pronouns don't have to refer to people, and the pronoun has to agree in gender, number, and case with the thing that it refers to. You could be talking about a monster, or maybe even an inanimate thing like silver. So "argentium suum" would be "the silver itself"
The original question by Jacob is about Latin equivalence to English gender-neutral pronoun "they" (sometimes called singular they).
I think you misunderstand the meaning of gender-neutral personal pronoun which is semantical and NOT always the same as grammatical neuter gender pronoun. Gender-neutral here is for human and it means "covering both male and female gender (of human)".
I don't think neuter pronoun id or illud should be used to refer to person as it serves the meaning of a thing not a person. Using id to refer to person seems very dehumanizing and inappropriate as the word itself is not ment to refer to person but rather 'that thing' or 'this thing'. Same analogy as the difference between quid (neuter = thing) and quis (mas/fem = person). Like you don't use it to refer to a person in English.
Being a speaker of a language with a gender-neutral singular pronoun, Norwegian, (den/denne) I can testify that the rise of the number of women involved in society did necessitate putting this pronoun to new and unusual uses, due to how rarely it had been used before. After all, earlier nearly all adult women were classified as wives, a known quantity. Whereas these days it's anybody's guess what the sex of the next professional you meet is. Naturally, you deal with that, but it does leave the problem of speaking accurately about people whom you only know are working for a specific place. So you use the neutral masculine/feminine pronoun, which previously was only used to vary expressions. We also use the neuter pronoun, (det/dette), which, counter to expectations, is in fact used for people, as it's tied to grammatical gender, not biological sex. Grammatical gender is arguably arbitrary, and not necessarily tied to sex. For instance, child is neuter in Norwegian, and car is masculine. So both pronouns are used for things. There has in fact been a lot of speculation as to what to do in those circumstances. And if we didn't have the option of combined masculine/feminine, we would likely have used the neuter. We might have made up a category to justify it, but instead we go with the gender of the professional title, or the gender of the business they're in. In real terms, though, it's more of an issue for academics than it is in real usage, as it still only comes up in edge cases. The second sex is known, you switch to specifics. Indeed the awkwardness of using den/denne in speech (it's mostly a formal phenomenon) generally leads to the knowledgable supplying the information necessary to switch.
The idea of unknown gender is unknown in French. (at least, before the debate about the genders, and I don't say the neuter, the neuter does exist in French, but it's not the same thing.)
So I really think an unknown gender is a specificity of the English language (I don't say English language is the only one). And I think there's probably there a trend to anglicize the Latin language with English concepts.
When referring to an unknown gender in French, one would say "Cette personne" (this person), because it could be a male or a female. And the pronoun would be grammatically feminine "elle, la", if we use "personne", because of the feminine gender of the word "personne", but knowing that the real gender could be masculine or feminine.
There is a neutral pronoun in French "ça", but it's used for things. If you'd wanted to use it for a person, it would mean this person is not quite human, but a kind of monster, or an object.
If there's no explicit neutral (in the meaning of unknown) pronoun in Latin, it's really probably that it's the same thing in Latin. So I don't understand the need to bring foreign concepts, from other languages with other logics, to this language.
Languages are diversity, in the concepts.
Ille is a demonstrative masculine pronoun meaning "that". Given that it is masculine, we have to infer that it refers to a masculine person. In Latin masculine is the collective gender (And generally in Latin literature most active agents are men anyway), so when in doubt I would use that personally.
The verb servare means to save. It gives us such words as conservation, preservation, to preserve, to conserve. You're thinking of servire, which means to serve. It's a completely different word. :)
Double check on William Whitaker's Words to make sure: http://archives.nd.edu/cgi-bin/wordz.pl?english=serve
Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.