Not too long ago, I would have recommended that he start out with three sets of 8-12 reps. But I no longer recommend or use this method. As Charles Poliquin once stated, training information changes every 18 months. From what I’ve seen, sticking to lower reps (even for a beginner) is a better choice (as stated in numerous articles by CW).
Since he is new to weight training, he may want to start out with a simple full-body routine three times a week. I would highly suggest Total Triple Training or the Strength Focused Mesocycle. Use those programs as written for 4-6 weeks to establish a good base of strength. From there, he will make wonderful progress with ABBH or many other programs written on T-nation regarding strength.
My dad recently started training with me (wants to lose weight and get in shape after decades of inactivity). I started him out on three full-body workouts each week with low reps (usually 3x5 or 5x5). Once he builds up a good base of strength, I’ll begin making changes similar to TTT, SFM and ABBH. Right now, I want him to learn perfect form with the basic exercises and establish a decent base of strength.