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What is a gender-neutral alternative to the expression "man-days"? I thought of "work-days" but am wondering if there might be another term. The use would be, for instance, "This project requires staffing of 1000 man-days over a six-month period."

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Makes you wonder what the huperson race is coming to sometimes. –  tchrist Mar 28 '13 at 13:19
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Makes me go completely persontal –  mplungjan Mar 28 '13 at 13:22
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^ You mean peopletal? –  Joe Z. Mar 28 '13 at 13:42
    
I once heard a feminist refer to her freshman year of college as her freshpeople year... took me like 10 min to understand what the heck she said... –  ryan Mar 28 '13 at 20:15
    
FTE - Full Time Equivalent is the more recent managerese. –  Mitch Jul 11 '13 at 18:16

7 Answers 7

Person-hour or person-day are gender-neutral alternatives suggested by Wikipedia.

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And since OP is asking about days, person-day is a term I've heard and used. –  JAM Mar 28 '13 at 13:24
    
Thanks @JAM, I have included it now. –  Bravo Mar 28 '13 at 13:38

If we’re talking labour, you could use worker-days, because in this context, worker is a better fix than person.

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This is different from "work-days" in that you're still talking about people. –  Joe Z. Mar 28 '13 at 13:41

Surely man hours or man days are both acceptable. You say you want a "gender neutral" alternative, but these forms are unmarked, much like we use mankind when talking about all people, not just those who are male. If you use a term like people days you might risk being ambiguous and waste time explaining your new word that could be spent on this massive project!

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What possible ambiguity is there in "people-days"? –  Russell Borogove Mar 28 '13 at 19:45
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This is an argument, not an answer. –  horatio Mar 28 '13 at 21:20
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Actually, there really are people who think that mankind is offensively sexist. –  tchrist Mar 28 '13 at 21:33
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@tchrist: They’re on the wrong side of historical etymology (man ~ person, wyf ~ female, wer ~ male), though probably the right side of good intentions. –  Jon Purdy Mar 29 '13 at 7:09
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Downvoted because it's completely non-responsive to the question. –  Noah Snyder Mar 29 '13 at 14:15

We use labor days. The man-hour has become the labor-hour.

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Isn't there only one labour day a year, though? –  Joe Z. Mar 28 '13 at 15:23
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@JoeZeng - that explains the progress on some of my projects –  mgb Mar 28 '13 at 15:55
    
@JoeZeng - In case you're serious, the holiday is capitalized. And, as a matter of fact. Labour Day is celebrated on many different dates in various countries. So there are actually many Labour Days. –  Jim Mar 29 '13 at 0:10
    
^ Nah, I was just joking. –  Joe Z. Mar 29 '13 at 4:34

For software efforts, I like "developer days". Sure, it's longer, but it alliterates nicely, and can be abbreviated to "dev days" once everyone in the organization is familiar with the term.

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And what do you when you need to keep the phone manned during work hours? This is all completely mad. –  tchrist Jul 11 '13 at 17:15
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@tchrist: Those hours are covered. –  Mitch Jul 11 '13 at 18:16

Since the phrase "staff years" is fairly common, I expect it would be well-understood to say "staff days". This avoids the ambiguity of "work days", which could be understood to mean Monday-Friday (depending on how clear the context is).

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I sometimes use the phrase "days of effort" as in:

This task will take about 20 days of effort.

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Not clear whether that means the team will need 20 days, or the 5-member team will need 4 days. –  TimLymington Mar 29 '13 at 11:21

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