Are people things?

Americans once used ‘who’ as a pronoun to represent people, and the pronoun ‘that’ to represent things, like the rest of the English-speaking world. Not so much any more: ‘that’ is everywhere.

The 1942 Bette Davis movie The Man Who Came to Dinner would now be called The Man That Came to Dinner.

In the end it doesn’t matter much one way or the other, though it sounds oddly dehumanising to a person brought up in the old ways. That’s how the Nazi government made it acceptable for everyday Germans to persecute Jews: first dehumanise them, then it doesn’t matter what you do to them, because they aren’t really people any more, they’re just things.