I understand that generally "você" is preferred over "tu".
Does the preference for the third person also carry over to personal pronouns i.e. are "o", "a", "lhe", "se" preferred over "te"?
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"tu" is used in some areas (north and south) and você in other places (for verb pronouns). se would only be used with reflexives verbs.
For example, "Eu a vi na rua". and "Eu lhe disse isso ontem." are said in "linguagem popular" (colloquial speech)
"Eu vi ela na rua." and "Eu disse isso a/para você ontem".
Also, the te is used for lhe or você: "Eu te disse isso ontem", even where the você is being used by the person in his or her speech to address someone. This usage is very colloquial and common. One of the most common expressions: Já te falei isso. or "Já te disse isso. O que [é que] você acha?"
The se is used with reflexives in the third person: Ele se cortou com aquela faca que está na mesa. [se cortar=to cut oneself]
So to answer the question: Brazilians don't avoid the "tu" personal pronoun form of the verb. There are simply regions where it is used and regions where it is not used.