The following guidelines for the non-sexist use of language are excerpted from the American Philosophical Association webpage by the same name.
Summary of Guidelines for the Nonsexist
Use of Language
When constructing examples and theories, remember to include
those human activities, interests, and points of view which traditionally have been
associated with females.
Eliminate the generic use of 'he' by:
- using plural nouns
- deleting 'he', 'his', and 'him' altogether
- substituting articles ('the', 'a', 'an') for 'his'; and
'who' for 'he'
- substituting 'one', 'we', or 'you'
- minimizing use of indefinite pronouns (e.g., 'everybody',
- using the passive voice [use sparingly]
- substituting nouns for pronouns [use sparingly]
Eliminate the generic use of 'man':
- for 'man', substitute 'person'/'people', 'individual(s)',
'human(s)', 'human being(s)'
- for 'mankind', substitute 'humankind', 'humanity', 'the
- for 'manhood', substitute 'adulthood', 'maturity'
- delete unnecessary references to generic 'man'
Eliminate sexism when addressing persons formally by:
- using 'Ms' instead of 'Miss' or 'Mrs.', even when a
woman's marital status is known
- using a married woman's first name instead of her
husband's (e.g., "Ms. Annabelle Lee" not "Mrs. Herman Lee")
- using the corresponding title for females ('Ms.', 'Dr.',
'Prof.') whenever a title is appropriate for males
- using 'Dear Colleague' or 'Editor' or 'Professor', etc. in
letters to unknown persons (instead of 'Dear Sir', 'Gentlemen')
Eliminate sexual stereotyping of roles by:
- using the same term (which avoids the generic 'man') for
both females and males (e.g., 'department chair' or 'chairperson'), or by using the
corresponding verb (e.g., 'to chair')
- not calling attention to irrelevancies (e.g., 'lady
lawyer', 'male nurse')