NOAD claims chick is derogatory, but I would dispute that claim.
For one thing, it's not too derogatory if women themselves use it about themselves. Think of the country music group The Dixie Chicks, who, according to Wikipedia, "took their band name from the song "Dixie Chicken" by Lowell George of Little Feat. Presumably they would have refused to convert chicken to chick if they felt it disrespected women. And if you've ever seen the group (which sings songs like "Thank Heavens for Dale Evans"), you realize they're not making the same kind of statement with their name as, say, the rap group N.W.A.
Then think of terms like "chick flicks" and "chick lit" — men may use them to express their disaffection with such subjects, but women equally embrace them. My wife and her friends, for example, use those terms enthusiastically and without reservation.
Indeed, this points up a contradiction in NOAD's characterization, since it defines "chick flick" this way:
a movie that appeals mainly to women.
What was claimed to be derogatory is now merely informal. How's that for consistency? If it's derogatory as a noun, certainly it ought to be derogatory as an adjective or attributive noun.
And if it's derogatory at all, it's certainly not on the same level as calling a gay man a "fag" or a Lesbian a "dyke" or a black man a — well, you get the idea. Chick is pretty mild stuff, and pretty well accepted in informal conversation.