In the above example the English translation refers to “she”, but am I correct, that there is nothing in the spanish
sentence that refers to a “she”? In fact, wouldn’t “le” normally default to the masculine?
As Marsha said, le is used for both because this is the pronoun used as an indirect object -the person who likes, is passionate about something, is interested about something, etc is an indirect object pronoun:
Le encanta el fútbol.
He/she loves football.
Les apasiona la música.
They (masc or fem) are passionate about music.
Le interesa la literatura inglesa.
He/she is interested in English literature.
Le is used with masculine and feminine with this verb construction. This verb is like gustar so if you said he likes books it would be le gustan los libros and it would be exactly the same for she likes books
Could we use "que" in this sentence as well?
If I say "que" then I find the documentaries boring.
If I say "lo que" then I find her interest in the documentaries boring.
You can say:
Le apasionan los documentales históricos, que me parece aburridísimo.
Le apasionan los documentales históricos, lo que me parece aburridísimo.
Both are correct and both meaning that what you find boring is the fact that "she is passionate about those documentaries". (que or lo que both referring to the whole clause)
To express that what you find boring is the "actual documentaries" you need to make the agreement between the verb and the plural subject "documentales" plus the adjective also in plural "aburridísimos".
Le apasionan los documentales históricos,que (a mí) me parecen aburridísimos.
Le apasionan los documentales históricos, los que/los cuales (a mí) me parecen aburridísimos.
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