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

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152
votes
18answers
19k 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.
62
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
53
votes
5answers
19k 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 ...
25
votes
15answers
9k views

Gender-neutral alternative to “craftsmanship”?

It's straightforward to refer to a "craftsperson" instead of a "craftsman" if one doesn't want to imply a gender. But "craftspersonship", "sportspersonship", and the like seem pretty cumbersome. Is ...
19
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...
16
votes
8answers
3k views

Man-hour vs. person-hour? Is the former now considered politically incorrect?

It's now (often) considered politically incorrect to say 'chairman'. We must now say 'chairperson' or simply 'chair'. Does the same apply to 'man-hour'? Should I instead say 'person-hour'? (On say a ...
15
votes
6answers
631 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
14
votes
9answers
3k views

Is the genderless pronoun “they” appropriate and grammatical for a non-binary gender? [duplicate]

I recently had somebody tell me that a mutual friend of ours who is genderqueer prefers that people refer to him/her using the gender-indefinite pronoun they. In some cases, this almost seems okay: ...
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", ...
10
votes
6answers
8k 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, ...
9
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
632 views

Is “Jew” gender-neutral?

I had thought that Jew was gender-neutral, until I heard somebody who was asked if their mother was a Jew and responded, "of course not; she's a Jewess". Is Jew a gender-neutral form, or does one ...
8
votes
3answers
270 views

A gender-neutral, informal alternative to singular 'guy'

When referring to an online comment, I want to say I agree with this guy. However, it's not gender neutral (See this ELU post.) What other informal alternate word is there? 'User' seems ...
8
votes
3answers
97 views

What's an evidential basis for discussing gender-neutrality of terms? [closed]

I keep finding myself looking at questions involving the concept of gender neutrality of words or phrases. (Check out the RELATED panel down to the right there.) "Craftmanship" for example - is it ...
7
votes
3answers
992 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
352 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
160 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
708 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
111 views

Dating equivalent of 'spouse'

I want to ask someone, "Describe the perfect girlfriend/boyfriend" but I don't want to be so hetero-normative. So I'm looking for a simple gender-neutral/gender-inclusive equivalent for ...
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 ...
5
votes
9answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
231 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?
5
votes
2answers
556 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
135 views

Is there an explicitly male version of “craftsman/craftsmanship”?

This is somewhat of a fringe question, I’m sure, but the recent question asking for a gender-neutral of craftsmanship thread got me thinking. Since the suffix ‑man has become something of a ...
4
votes
5answers
1k 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? ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Alternatives to “layman”

Is layman a gender specific term or can it be used like college 'freshman'? Is it still appropriate to use, or has it been superseded by some other term? Specific to IT, it seems more appropriate to ...
4
votes
4answers
402 views

One - does common English usage equate that to “you” (2nd person) or “he/she” (3rd person)?

I am proof reading an academic paper on computer programming and am trying to ensure pronouns conform. This is an example sentence: Accordingly, one considers some entry fees in his strategic ...
4
votes
2answers
310 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 ...
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 ...
4
votes
3answers
205 views

Term of endearment for either parent?

For father, we have daddy, dada, papa, poppy, etc. For mother, we have momma, mommy, mama, etc. Is there a term of endearment that fits either role? I've racked my brain thinking of one and I can't. ...
3
votes
2answers
272 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?”
3
votes
2answers
130 views

How to ask a mixed-gender group for their participation?

This question deals with the use of y’all in written vs. spoken English, gender neutrality and group dynamics. I often find myself writing emails to a group of both men and women asking if they ...
2
votes
3answers
367 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".
2
votes
2answers
230 views

Freshman or Freshwoman

Can we use freshwoman to refer to a girl in her first year in college, or is freshman acceptable?
2
votes
3answers
834 views

Can the feminine pronouns be gender-neutral? [closed]

I know this sounds weird but I've been noticing a lot of texts on the Internet like this one: "Any citizen is concerned with her well-being ...". The word in question is "her". To me it seems like in ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

Is “past master” a gender neutral phrase?

PAST MASTER - noun: a person who has done something many times before and has become very skilled at doing it "He's a past master at finding ways to get out of trouble." ...
2
votes
1answer
225 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 / ...
2
votes
3answers
334 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"?
2
votes
3answers
136 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
7answers
4k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
826 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 ...
1
vote
8answers
400 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
1answer
82 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
172 views

History of usage of singular “they” (gender-neutral) [duplicate]

I have just read in Emma by Jane Austen a phrase which surprised me: I can think of but one thing - Who is in love with her? Who makes you their confidant? (Jane Austen: Emma, Chapter VIII, ...
1
vote
2answers
321 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 ...