Umm'd and Aaah'd between both the D3000 and D5000 myself, previously owning a D40x. Have to say, I've just returned from the shops with a D5000 and awaiting the charge of the new battery before proceeding with a few test shots... I'm happier with my choice after buying, although the cost did make me think carefully.
The things that made my decision easier, were the live view and viewer. Aside from the obvious 12MP to the D3000' 10MP too, the ISO achievementwas important to me, making the D5000 the better choice. However, in the UK, I only gained the basic 18-55 without the VR and there was no rebate info either. Guessing you get more in other areas of the world!
If he's like me, I'd urge him to consider how he wishes to use the camera.. being able to take photo's without needing to place the camera to your eye is a help. We're not all fit and able these days..