Cover Page ofThe Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing
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Section 7.5.1

Sexist Language

Avoid using masculine pronouns(he, his, and him) for generic references that could applyto either gender. Instead, edit in one of the following ways:


Unacceptable

Every candidate for the scholarship must submit his application by June 1.

Acceptable

Every candidate for the scholarship must submit his or her application by June1.

Acceptable

Candidates for the scholarship must submit their applications by June 1.

Acceptable

Every candidate for the scholarship must submit an application by June 1.


Although using the plural pronoun their to refer to an indefinite singular antecedentis becoming common in speech ("Every doctor has their specialty"), this usage is not acceptable inmost written work.

Use terms such as humans or the human race instead ofman and mankind, and find substitutes for most occupational designationsthat include the word man.


UNACCEPTABLE ACCEPTABLE
man, mankind humans, the human race, people
mailman, postman mail carrier, postal worker
policeman, fireman police officer, firefighter
businessmen business executives, business people
congressmen members of congress, state representatives
councilmen council members
spokesman representative, advocate
chairman chair, chairperson

Unacceptable

Early man was shorter and stockier than mankind today.

Acceptable

Early humans were shorter and stockier than people today.

Unacceptable

Local businessmen have contributed to funds for the aid of injured firemen andpolicemen.

Acceptable

The local business community has contributed to funds for the aid of injured firefightersand police officers.


Finally, do not include information that indicates a person's sex unnecessarily, and treat the titles ofmen and women comparably.


Unacceptable

Terry Harris, a well-known female productivity consultant, will advise the committeeheaded by Mr. Todd Sui.

Acceptable

Terry Harris, a well-known productivity consultant, will advise the committee headed byTodd Sui.


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## Sexist Language ##
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