This tag is for questions related to gender neutral pronouns, nouns, and sentences.

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132
votes
17answers
14k views

Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)?

Is there a pronoun I can use as a gender-neutral pronoun? Each student should save his questions until the end. Each student should save her questions until the end.
0
votes
3answers
504 views

Choice of pronoun to refer to 'one of us' when 'us' is male + female: they, he, she?

Imagine yourself – a man – sitting next to someone you want to talk to – a woman – on a bus, train, plane, etc. After a while you say: 'One of us has to start talking / break the ice, don't they? / ...
0
votes
2answers
46 views

Can we use “it” as a generic reference for a human being?

I was watching a Hollywood movie few days ago. In one scene the son says "See, Mama: it's Dad," using it for a human. Is that right? How? In another case, when one of my colleague was explaining some ...
9
votes
7answers
5k views

Is there a gender-neutral word for [aunts and uncles], parents' siblings?

Brothers and sisters are siblings. Husbands and wives are spouses. Mothers and fathers are parents. Sons and daughters are children. Grandparents, grandchildren... but what about uncles and aunts, ...
7
votes
1answer
210 views

Gender neutral term for “maiden name”?

The term "maiden name" is only used to describe the name that a woman had before marriage, and as such, is not gender neutral. However, it occasionally occurs that a man will take his partner's last ...
12
votes
7answers
1k views

Gender-neutral equivalent for “Take it like a man”

I'd like to find some gender-neutral equivalents of the phrase Take it like a man I'm not looking only for existing phrases -- any interesting ideas for expressing the sentiment "be tough", ...
5
votes
4answers
83 views

Etymology of “manhole”

I don't think man stands for male here, I think it stands for human—it is a humanhole. Does it have this name because its purpose is to provide access to the sewer for men?
19
votes
5answers
2k views

Is ‘hero’ applicable to females?

There was the following sentence in today’s (June 4) New York Times written by its Op-Ed columnist, Nickolas Kristof under the headline, “There’s a Kind of Hush.” “Aung San Suu Kyi should be one ...
5
votes
9answers
731 views

What is a female or gender neutral form of gentleman that relays the same tone of respect? [duplicate]

At my office when referring to customers or external vendors I often use the word gentleman. I do this in effort to show that I’m speaking respectfully about them so the content and tone of my ...
0
votes
4answers
109 views

Are terms like “policeman” still gender-exclusive if they refer to one specific man?

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?
0
votes
1answer
45 views

Given “a player” as antecedent, when should the pronoun be “he” or “she”? [duplicate]

I am learning game theory. I always see that professors write (in text books): a player chooses her strategy If she chooses a strategy Also some professors use he instead of she. There other ...
1
vote
8answers
177 views

What is a heterosexual term for “cruising”?

Cruising, the act of going out and about looking for a sexual partner, is generally only used in a gay context in the US. What is a term with the same basic meaning but without the homosexual ...
1
vote
2answers
143 views

Freshman or Freshwoman

Can we use freshwoman to refer to a girl in her first year in college, or is freshman acceptable?
1
vote
1answer
92 views

gender neutral pronoun - he/she or it [duplicate]

I'm a bit lost in gender neutrality. Please see the example below. A: What, I got a child‽ B: Sooner or later *he or she* will show up. From my own research, people put preferences this way: they > ...
0
votes
3answers
334 views

Looking for a gender neutral equivalent for “dairyman”

What would be the gender-neutral version of the term "dairyman"?
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Is “tomfoolery” a gendered word?

I saw a comment of someone refering to tom-and-tanya-foolery as the gender-inclusive version of tomfoolery. I was completely unaware of tomfoolery having any gendered conotation at all. Is this a ...
2
votes
3answers
298 views

“Was it a girl?” or “Was that a girl?”

Here's a conversation. "I saw a salesperson there" "Was it a girl?" Is it OK to use "it" when you refer to the salesperson? Or should you use "that" instead of "it"?
3
votes
2answers
189 views

Is there a gender-neutral prefix for “parent”?

The prefixes "patr-" and "matr-" refer, respectively, to father and mother--e.g., a patriarch is a father who rules a family, and a matrilineal society is one where property is passed from mother to ...
2
votes
3answers
108 views

Singular of “folks”?

It has been suggested to me that "fellow" is the corresponding singular version of the word "folks" in the context of "hey folks" or "listen folks" but it doesn't have the same gender neutrality.
1
vote
2answers
213 views

Use of plural pronoun to avoid mentioning of gender

I'm aware that (at least today's) English allows the use of a plural pronoun to avoid mentioning a gender of the subject. Example: _"Everybody can do what they want to" instead of "Everybody can do ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

How do I pluralise a word that has a masculine and feminine singlar forms, for a mixed group?

This may be an ill-defined question since it arose from trying to pluralise a word that has come from French, I wanted to pluralise a pair flaneurs of different genders. Flaneur comes from the French ...
1
vote
2answers
46 views

Gender specific language for one in a series of occurrences: does it imply something about the other occurrences?

A recent radio headline was Another member of the Canadian Armed Forces has taken his own life. This is the fourth suicide this week. The presence of the word another somehow left me with the ...
59
votes
3answers
6k views

Is there a single term for “nieces and nephews”?

I find it handy when talking about my sons and daughters I can just say my children. It's nice to say nieces instead of sibling's daughters. I wonder if there is a similar term for nieces and nephews ...
-1
votes
1answer
731 views

Which pronoun to refer to “person”? It? He or She? They?

"When he found his seat on the plane, Sam recognized the person who was sitting in the seat next to his. It? She? was a woman he knew." Which is more common/natural? Isn't 'it' more correct – ...
45
votes
3answers
13k views

Is “guy” gender-neutral?

The plural "guys" definitely is, at least here in San Francisco — I'm often hearing all-girl companies here being greeted with 'Hi guys, how are you doing?'. How about the singular guy? Is it ...
15
votes
6answers
589 views

Why does “it” have a dehumanizing connotation?

There are a number of questions here on gender neutral pronouns, and one of the things that always comes up is that "it" should never be used to refer to a person (usually an adult). The general ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

Gender-neutral possessive [duplicate]

I often use their as a gender-neutral term. Example: When a writer promotes their work ... But I am not sure whether this is acceptable English, or whether this is rather colloquial. I.e. can a ...
0
votes
2answers
134 views

What's the neutral measurement unit for masculine and feminine?

When we want to know how tall or how short someone is, we can query for his tallness, shortness, or height (neutral measurement unit). Is there such a neutral measurement unit for the adjectives ...
0
votes
0answers
42 views

Using “they” for single person [duplicate]

I have encountered some people using pronoun "they" when referring to a single person, such in this example: Even if the cyclist is 100% at fault (I don't think they are), leaving the scene of ...
7
votes
2answers
926 views

What happened to word gender in English?

I know English is a Germanic language and I know at least the German language still has genders — three of them in fact — masculine, feminine, neuter. So did the English nouns and ...
7
votes
2answers
145 views

What is the proper way to refer to the Original Poster (OP)?

In a Stack Exchange comment, I was corrected by referring to a user named alice as a "he". I said (context): I know he thinks he needs all of the eigenvalues, but I've learned that ... and was ...
1
vote
2answers
564 views

Non gender oriented way to replace husband/wife

I’m creating a list of families that lists both partners’ names, ages, wedding date, and divorce date if there is one. To do this I have been using: Husband Age Wife Age Marriage Date ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Is using “he” for a gender-neutral third-person correct?

I know there are different opinions on this issue. My question: Is using "he" for a general, gender-neutral third person still in common use for formal writing? By common use I mean, can I expect my ...
1
vote
7answers
2k views

What is a gender-neutral alternative to the expression “man-days”?

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the most popular gender-neutral pronouns that aren't the same as other contemporary pronouns?

There have been attempts to use other contemporary English pronouns to stand-in as a true gender-neutral pronoun, given that English is lacking a commonly-accepted one for adult humans (non-humans and ...
0
votes
1answer
973 views

Generic way for writing about person without knowing his/her gender [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? Is there generic way to write something ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What is a proper gender-neutral form of himself or herself [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? Gender neutral reflexive pronoun — equivalent ...
2
votes
1answer
172 views

Is ‘smart alec (aleck)’ a gender-neutral noun?

I happened to find the origin of the word, ‘smart alec (aleck / alick)’ as I was checking the spelling of the word in a dictionary. Merriam Webster English Dictionary defines ‘smart alec (aleck / ...
0
votes
1answer
164 views

Pronouns and declension for merged/hermaphroditic entities

I have a pair of friends who since entering into a relationship have become rather disgustingly effusive and clingy, to the point where people around them have begun referring them an 'it' [singular], ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Reason for the current trend to use «she» as the gender-neutral pronoun?

There are some questions on gender-neutral pronouns both here and on Writers. User Christine Letts writes: In academia, there is currently a movement toward using the feminine pronoun at all ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Gender-neutral Forms

What is the unisex form of a word like fisherman? Do you have to use fisherman and fisherwoman separately, or is fisherperson acceptable? I couldn’t find a dictionary with the word … In general, what ...
3
votes
2answers
248 views

Is “Who is he?” ok when we don’t know the sex?

Suppose I see someone coming whose gender is unknown; how should I ask who the approaching person is? Should I say “Who is he?”
2
votes
3answers
319 views

Female equivalent of “creator”?

Female equivalent of "creator"? Or is it unisex? I'm a programmer and I named a variable "creatingFunction", which sounds even worse than "creatorFunction".
4
votes
2answers
292 views

Is the English Language becoming more generic, in the sense that English is distinguishing less between masculine and feminine?

To clarify: what I mean is that in Australia for instance there is a trend in English to use words that do not distinguish between men and women. E.g. Chairperson instead of Chairman. So the question ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

Using both “one’s” and “their” to refer to the same entity

Consider this example: Sustainability management in large organisations is an important activity that helps to achieve one’s business goals while at the same time reducing their environmental ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Non-gender uncle/aunt relation name [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a single term for “nieces and nephews”? Is there a gender-neutral word for [aunts and uncles], parents' siblings? The non-gender name for ...
7
votes
3answers
859 views

Gender-independent replacement for “fiancée” and “fiancé”

I can use child to replace son or daughter, sibling for sister or brother, and parent for mother or father. What is the unisex replacement for fiancée and fiancé? I don’t need it for speech, but for ...
6
votes
5answers
563 views

How can I reword “cross-gender” so it doesn't sound like I'm talking about transgenders?

This research has been focused on cross-national and cross-gender applications of such theories. The use of "cross-gender" means across genders, in the same way that "cross-national" means across ...
4
votes
5answers
906 views

Is “ad hominem” gender-neutral?

My immediate thought is that the term is generic, and yet I read recently a verbal brickbat described as ad feminam. Was that just a po-mo back-formation, or is there some merit to the distinction? ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it appropriate to refer to a person of unknown sex by “it”?

I would like to treat a user as a non-gender noun and refer to it with the gender-neutral pronoun, it. E.g., The user defines two variables, x and y. It then multiplies each variable by a prime ...