I think there is a lot of good advice here - but I would chime in with this:
Buy used, and you will have more camera for your money. I use the FD mount (manual) Canon gear - but am not one of the brand nazis - you will be happy with any reputable camera, I also own Nikon and have no complains about that either. I am more familiar with Canon though, so my two cents will centre on that. I would strongly suggest looking to a older Elan II, or a newer Elan 7. I think that in that particular price/market segment, these two Canons offer a little more per dollar than eqivalent Nikon models (the mirror lock up as one example). Apparently the Nikons have their adventages - no doubts there - but feature per dollar, I think the Elans are realy stand outs.
But is he really that set on AF? It would really be great if he could get a camera that the two of you could share lenses for. And also, I suspect he can get more camera for the $200 that way.
And just as an aside - those canons are apparently able to be retrofitted with the T90 focusing screen, which is split view with a misroprism ring. I know this has been done, but I understand its quite involved and would require a professional with the right tools and know how (or so I am told - please correct me if I am wrong). The T90 was the last manual focus Canon - basically a prototype of their new line with the old manual lens mount - hence the screen, and the ability to fit one to a new camera.
Best of luck with whatever choice you make,