The idea that "that" should not be used with people is a fairly recent idea that doesn't really accurately describe anyone's usage, educated or not. It seems to be one of those attempts to logicalize the language at the expense of stylistic choice and natural idiom.
It's interesting to compare Bible translations of Matthew 6:9 to see how this has varied over the years (this is from oldest to newest)
And thus ye shall pray, Our Father that art in heavens, hallowed be thy name (Wycliff)
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (KJV)
Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name. (Amplified)
After this manner therefore pray ye. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (ASV)
Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name (RSV)
It seems like there's a greater preference for "who" as you get into more modern translations (apparently for the KJV translators, "which" was a possibility, but that's hardly used nowadays).
Using my favorite mastertexts.com site for 18th and 19th century novels, here are a number of literary examples of "that" used with people:
"I do not think myself secure, but I hope I have not been in company with any person that there has been any danger in." (Defoe)
"There is little to choose between a person that ruins her pupils by neglect, and one that corrupts them by her example." (Anne Bronte)
"...his eyes set and looking like a person that was dying." (Mark Twain)
"You're the person that Mr. Leach hath spoken to me of, I presume." (Thackeray)
"Do you know a person that passes by the name of Wily Will..." (Scott)
"They may easily get her from Portsmouth to town by the coach, under the care of any creditable person that may chance to be going." (Jane Austen)
"...who was the most illustrious person that ever was known and all of whose relations were a sort of royal family." (Dickens)
"...if you should come to England next year, I expect to be the first person that you inform of it." (Henry James)
To me, the issue of who vs. that is much more stylistic than grammatical. Thackeray's example above is especially interesting because "that" is standing in for "whom" instead of "who".
As for the subjunctive, English doesn't really have a subjunctive mood (in the grammatical sense), except for that one odd holdover of using "were" instead of "was". It's not very surprising to see people using "was" instead, since it seems to fit more logically with the way the rest of the language is used -- why should singular pronouns take a verb with a plural number in that construction? Other languages like Latin had completely separate conjugations for the subjunctive. It's definitely something that people should pay close attention to in writing (particularly formal writing).
Last edited by Yudan Taiteki
on Wed 10.10.2007 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.