Unfortunately you get bogged down much of the time with what a protagonist wants. If it's to survive, that's a very human thing, but if it's something less universal then it changes how the narrative will play out. The more unique the thing the protagonist wants, the more of an issue gender is.
For instance - A film about a man wanting to become President is a very different film than a woman wanting to become President, however, a narrative where someone is stuck on a sinking boat could be written completely genderless.
Edit: Just to add, the above 'for instance' is now my new gender equality argument. We should be in a place where the same applies to both in terms of writing them genderless.