Definetely have him check out a 2012 or 2013 Suzuki DL650 VStrom. I have one for a demo right now and really like it. If he's thinking a little more towards a sport bike the Yamaha FZ8 is a great bike. I put 5000 miles on one last summer (my last demo). I even did a 955 mile overnight trip on it!
If I had to choose, the Strom would be my #1. The one thing that really stands out about both of these bikes is that you only have to ride them about 5 miles to fall in love with them. Just my $.02