Inclusive Language

* Use substitutes for the word ‘man’ when referring to people as a whole —

fireman fire fighter
mailman mail carrier
man-hours total hours
manpower work force
mankind people

* By using the plural you can often eliminate the sexual bias. “A manager should treat his employees fairly,” becomes “Managers should treat their employees fairly.” Or you can use the pronoun, ‘one.’

* “Everyone should have their own space.” Some writers say this usage of ‘their’ is a good way to avoid sexist writing. Others say it’s incorrect grammar. What is your opinion?

* To avoid overusing ‘person,’ turn nouns into verbs. Instead of “Jane Doe is the chair person today,” try “Jane Doe chairs the committee today.”

* Don’t use the ‘ess’ ending to designate a woman.

* Avoid the term ‘girl’ (as in ‘the girls in the office.’) Ask yourself if you would use ‘boy’ in the equivalent situation. If not, find another term.

* Be especially careful around occupations that are assumed to belong to one sex or the other. The surgeon may be a woman, the nurse, a man. (As a matter of fact, the nurse who interviews me every month at the cancer agency is one of the best nurses I’ve ever known. He’s a macho guy, the kind you’d like to have a drink with and talk hockey.)

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