I commonly use the word 'guys' to refer to a group of males colloquially. It's colloquial but not rude, off putting, condescending, patronizing (though I wouldn't use it with a group of men at a board meeting (hypothetically of course), unless I knew them). So, some that I would not consider as replacements would be
- buddies: too old-fashioned
- dudes: too informal
- boys: too patronizing
- men, gentlemen: too formal or false respect
I realized that I had also been using it for any group of people, males and females, even just females. It worked for me and I didn't think of the gender implications, that women might not care for it. No one ever complained, directly or indirectly (rule of life: sometimes people don't complain about things they should).
But it occurred to me (maybe by reading something that sparked realization) that the intended hearers might not all care for it.
What might be a female gendered or non-gendered version of 'guys'?
Some that I've considered don't feel right about (though these may be resasonable answers) are:
- dolls: too old-fashioned
- babes: too...informal
- ladies: too formal or I've heard from women, too creepy
- women: too ...factual
- girls: too patronizing (as much as 'boys')
- everyone, you all: too bland
- y'all: perfectly non-sexist...but too regional (might work, but not everywhere)
Hopefully I haven't eliminated all the possibilities...any suggestions?