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I just read this: It’s a (wo)man’s world out there.

Is this an accepted approach to gender-neutral language, or is it just used when humor is intended?

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2 Answers

up vote 19 down vote accepted

The style guides I know advise against this kind, with the brackets or slashes (he/she), unless used ironically or in contexts where there is no reasonable alternative to avoid confusion, like forms or legal texts.

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@Cerberus: Sorry, out of upvotes for the next 22 hours! –  Jimi Oke Jan 17 '11 at 2:10
    
@Jimi: Haha, have you really reached the cap? Pretty impressive. –  Cerberus Jan 17 '11 at 4:00
    
@Cerberus: You bet! Have to do my civic duty, you know ;) –  Jimi Oke Jan 17 '11 at 4:24
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It's bad enough in English, but when you move to a language where you have to accord all the rest, it starts looking more like code than prose :) –  Benjol Jan 17 '11 at 8:13
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@Cerberus: last night I hit the 30 vote daily cap too... for the first time on any *.SE site (including the trilogy). Hmm, wasn't that hard. ;-) –  Jürgen A. Erhard Jan 17 '11 at 13:54
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This is certainly not an attempt at gender-neutrality. It is simply employed to convey the irony of the situation in question.

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I've known this construct used for gender neutrality a lot. In that specific example, it is done for effect. –  Orbling Jan 17 '11 at 2:27
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@Orbling: Oh, yeah, for sure. I was referring specifically to the article the asker posted. Like you said, it's used here for effect... I wouldn't hesitate at constructions such as this or s/he or even (fe)male and the like :) –  Jimi Oke Jan 17 '11 at 2:34
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Good, was not entirely sure from the phrasing - but figured that was your intention. ;-) –  Orbling Jan 17 '11 at 2:36
    
@Orbling: No worries :) Yeah, this was a very quick answer... –  Jimi Oke Jan 17 '11 at 2:42
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