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

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224
votes
20answers
42k 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.
80
votes
6answers
54k 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 ...
69
votes
3answers
19k 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 ...
35
votes
22answers
8k views

Proper way to address a very small group that includes both sexes [closed]

What is the proper way to address a light email/message to a small group of 2-or-3 people, where the group includes both sexes? I normally just use the term "guys" as in "Hey guys" or "Good morning ...
26
votes
19answers
7k views

Is there a non-gendered term for “gentlemanly” [duplicate]

Opening doors, offering to pay the tab, helping with a coat or a light of the smoke: we may describe these acts of a man to be gentlemanly. In a word, how may we describe these acts of any person?
25
votes
13answers
11k views

Gender neutral version of housewife

Outside of American English, what gender neutral terms are there for "housewife"? There aren't any children involved, so "stay at home parent" isn't applicable. For example (when addressing an ...
25
votes
18answers
4k views

What is a non-gendered synonym for “macho”?

In teaching computer science, I often want to mention certain beliefs that would normally be described as "macho", such as "Strong types are for weak minds" (translation: only lousy programmers need a ...
23
votes
15answers
12k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
19k 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 ...
19
votes
9answers
6k 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
7answers
2k 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", ...
15
votes
9answers
7k 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: ...
15
votes
6answers
814 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
3k 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
25k 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, ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

“Mx” the gender-neutral honorific

The gender-neutral honorific “Mx” has its own entry in the OED since August 2015, so no one can argue it doesn't exist. According to The Sunday Times, central and local governments have been quietly ...
13
votes
5answers
8k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Father and mother are to parents what brother and sister are to which gender neutral noun? [closed]

Looking for a word that denotes both brothers and sisters without gender connotations (gender neutral), in a similar fashion as parents for father and mother.
11
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are plurals ‘*humen’ and ‘*Germen’ not conventional?

Studying English in school as a second language, I learned that human being would be the proper noun to describe a member of the Homo sapiens species, but it seems human is perfectly acceptable in ...
10
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
228 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
672 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
145 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
2k 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
4answers
773 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 ...
6
votes
8answers
1k views

Alternatives to the expression “poor man's <noun>”

I'm looking for a more politically correct substitute for the expression "poor man's", meaning an inferior improvised or makeshift substitute. Usage examples: "Guncotton is the poor man's TNT" "Poor ...
6
votes
5answers
3k 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
9answers
7k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
1k 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
2answers
5k 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 to &...
6
votes
3answers
260 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 boyfriend/...
5
votes
2answers
2k 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
5answers
2k views

Non gender-specific alternative 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k 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
473 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 gender-...
5
votes
3answers
2k 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. ...
4
votes
6answers
2k 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
4answers
1k 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
392 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
4answers
1k 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?
4
votes
2answers
120 views

What job descriptions are currently accepted as gendered? [closed]

It seems to me that in my lifetime, the use of "actress" has fallen out of favor in lieu of "actor", while relatively recently the term "comedienne" has been climbing in popularity. These blog posts ...
4
votes
6answers
757 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
8answers
10k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
370 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
340 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
142 views

How to make gender-neutral: “Let he who would move the world, first move himself.”

Here's the original quote from Socrates: Let he who would move the world, first move himself. I'm thinking a non-gender specific version would be: Let they who would move the world, first ...
2
votes
8answers
2k views

A non-gendered word for fishermen

Is there a non-gendered word for fishermen, that doesn't feel as self-conscious as fisherpersons or as folksy as fisherfolk?