I'm reading a news article about a male police officer and the author calls him a "policeman." This word seems unsophisticated to me, but is it still sexist if it refers to a man?
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Yes it is gender-exclusive, but that need not always lead us to recoil in utter horror. “Stewards must always offer any pregnant passenger assistance with her luggage” is also gender-exclusive, but I will personally undertake to assuage the hurt feelings of any pregnant male passengers who feel affronted by the wording of this guideline.
Policeman is quite common in reference to male police officers, and I do not think I would even notice it. For that matter, the corresponding form policewoman is not uncommon. For example, here are some recent uses in The New York Times:
As to whether this is “still sexist” — that seems very subjective to me, and depends greatly on the political and cultural context. You will need to decide for yourself how you feel about these usages.
Several people have suggested the use of the term "police officer" but we must be careful not to create confusion with non-human police actors such as dogs and AI systems.
To be specific, a police canine is often given an officer rank. If it is attacked or bitten that is treated as an offense against a serving office.
We need to say "a canine police officer" or a "human police officer" to clarify our specific case. This will grow more important as AI officers are deployed more widely.