"Does he or she answer?"
Translation:Svarar han eller hon?
Whenever there's a question the subject and verb switches place.
Han sover = He sleeps
Sover han? = Does he sleep?
Hon springer = She runs
När springer hon? = When does she run?
No, it can't be allowed since "hen" would only refer to one person. In this case we have two persons (who clearly define themselves as male and female) and we want to know which one of them answers.
Svarar hen? Would only be a question about whether that particular person who either is of unknown gender or defines "hen"self as a third gender, i.e. neither male nor female, is answering.
I would argue it is not clear from the context that we want to know the sex of the respondent. Whenever I see "he or she" my mind translates that to Swedish as "hen".
The way I would read the sentence above is that we would like to know which one of the two persons is answering. I guess that you could look at it in that way too, namely that "he or she" would be a way of communicating that we do not know the gender of a person so in that sense you are correct.
Then again we have not really made up our mind about how we should deal with "hen" on Duolingo. Not all Swedes agree on this word and not all of our group members agree on this word. We have thus far avoided "hen" since it isn't accepted in major dictionaries such as SAOL.
But to conclude, I agree with you. When read like that, "hen" would be a valid translation, however not fully accepted by all Swedes and therefore (not yet) accepted here.
For the record, "they" would work best in place of "he or she" in the English translation when referring to one person of unknown gender.
Är det han eller hon som svarar was the correct proposed answer not svarar han eller hon as above... What is the difference!
"svarar hen": I typed 'svarar han' knowing it was the wrong answer as I'd forgotten 'eller' - i apparently got it right with a typo - "svarar hen" but I can't find what 'hen' means. Does anyone know?