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Githyanki (MM p. 160, and Mordenkainen's Monsters of the Multiverse, p. 140f) all have a Spellcasting (Psionics) ability of 3/day: nondetection (self only).

Nondetection has a duration of 8 hours. Given that the githyanki cannot cast it on anyone else, and given that a day has exactly 3 x 8 hours, it would seem reasonable that this is a somewhat convoluted way to say that the githyanki are under a Nondetection effect all the time. Is there any lore (also would be OK from earlier editions) that supports this idea in published materials?

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Githyanki from 3.5e and 4e do not have nondetection or any similar power.

In the 3.5e Monster Manual, pg. 128, gives us the spellcasting feature for Githyanki:

Psionics (Sp): 3/day—daze (DC 9), mage hand. In addition, githyanki of 3rd level or higher can use blur three times per day, githyanki of 6th level or higher can use dimension door three times per day, and githyanki of 9th level or higher can use telekinesis (DC 14) three times per day and plane shift (DC 16) once per day. Effective caster level equals the githyanki’s class levels. The save DCs are Charisma-based.

Githyanki from 4e don't even have spellcasting; pp. 128-129 of the Monster Manual from 4e outlines the Githyanki traits, and no spellcasting is to be found.

In 5th Edition, nondetection or similar abilities are not discussed outside of some Githyanki stat blocks.

Reading through the unfortunately sparse lore of Monsters of the Multiverse (yes, I will bemoan its lack of depth at every opportunity), nondetection is not mentioned outside of the Gith stat blocks, nor is it discussed in the much more extensive lore in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes (yes, I will praise its depth any time I juxtapose it with Multiverse).

Finally, it is worth observing that the three Githyanki stat blocks (Buccaneer, Star Seer, Xenomancer) published in Boo's Astral Menagierie don't even have nondetection, so it isn't even a universal feature of Githyanki warriors.

There's nothing lore wise to go off, so the best we can do is make the observation that you have in the question, that, as written, some Githyanki could be under the effect of nondetection at any given time. I think it is best to view this as a niche DM's tool for running campaigns involving Githyanki - your players will have to be more creative than to just use scrying or locate creature on a Githyanki person of interest.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Worth mentioning that Nondetection is not limited to protecting one from just those two spells (scrying or locate creature) as JC has pointed out even those caught in area effects are considered "targets". \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Nov 3, 2022 at 19:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ My understanding is that Githyanki sleep in D&D 5e, right? If they sleep around eight hours on average (or more), permanent nondetection may be far too much trouble for the average Githyanki to have cast all the time, unless they are in a dangerous circumstance. \$\endgroup\$
    – Obie 2.0
    Nov 3, 2022 at 22:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Obie2.0 Given that it isn’t concentration casting at bedtime and at waking should be entirely feasible. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 3, 2022 at 22:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ What is "feasible" and what people are willing to send their time doing are two different things entirely. Think about how many people don't brush and floss their teeth twice per day, despite the evident benefits for their health and the very small time investment. I can readily imagine that having to carefully arrange one's sleep schedule to have permanent non-detection, then remember to do three times per day on the dot, while possible, is simply far too much of a bother for many githyanki. \$\endgroup\$
    – Obie 2.0
    Nov 3, 2022 at 23:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Does that really matter when they are both basically negligible in the grand scheme of things? Lots of humans—and perhaps, githyanki—just cannot be bothered to take the mental effort to consistently remember to do these small things. I think you overestimate the importance that a githyanki not out raiding would put on nondetection. \$\endgroup\$
    – Obie 2.0
    Nov 4, 2022 at 0:06

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