It occurred to me this morning that the spread of mismatched pronouns, like the “I” in about Malcolm and I, has not included compound pronouns such as about he and I or about they and we. My claim has always been that this culture-imbuing speech error was the result of overcompensation (some call it hypercorrection) for an error equally gross: “Me and Jake were friends in grammar school.” This observation supports that claim.
I am old enough to recall kids around me using the objective case in the subject: “Me and you have to stick together.” I recall, I think, every teacher I ever studied with through high school that we should say, “You and I have to stick together.” None of them pointed out that two issues were at stake: (1) the grammatical imperative that we use of the subjective case of the pronouns when they are in subject position and (2) the pressure of etiquette that we place the name of the other person before “I”. All of my teachers pointed out the latter; I don’t recall any mentioning specifically the former.
The result is that many of us thought that you and I, Galen and I, and so on were simply the only way you could express pronouns in compounds. However, if that is true, we should hear people saying things like, “about they and I”, “above they and we,” “about they and he,” “over they and I,” “except he and we,” and so on. But guess what? You can’t find expressions like these on the Web to any significant extent with one exception: between you and I.
Other pronouns are used with this preposition, but only when they stand for nouns, e.g. between ‘we’ and ‘they’, where we stands for “our people” and they stand for “their people”. You can find before you and I when before is used as a conjunction and this phrase is correct in the subject position of the subordinate clause: “Fremont arrived before you and I left.”
So I am taking this anecdotal evidence as support for the first part of my position: we had it drummed into our heads at school that you must use I after proper nouns in compound phrases. Between him and me is everywhere on the Web; between he and I barely shows up. No overcompensation or hypercorrection occurs at all, except to extend the case mismatch of I in object positions to he and she. It does not extend to we and they and not even to he and she if they are combined with other pronouns.
The issue is obviously more complex than anyone has previously noticed and this will not be the final word on it by any means. However, it could be the beginning of another step forward. I will keep an eye on it and report again in the future when I have a clearer picture.