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As mentioned in the post Gender neutrality in brief 1, gender neutral language is a convention in academic English.

It is very easy to forget to use gender-neutral language. Awareness of the following principles will help ensure that your writing is gender-neutral.

When writing about both men and women, use words that include both.

Not gender-neutral: Throughout history, mankind has sought to control his environment in various ways.

Gender-neutral: Throughout history, humankind has sought to control its environment in various ways.

Gender-neutral: Throughout history, people have sought to control their environment in various ways.

When jobs or roles can be filled by either men or women, use words that are gender-neutral.

Not gender-neutral: A number of political analysts have observed that Trump makes decisions on a transactional basis, something typical of businessmen.

Gender-neutral: A number of political analysts have observed that Trump makes decisions on a transactional basis, something typical of businesspeople.

Not gender-neutral: A secretary’s principle loyalty is to her boss.

Gender-neutral: A secretary’s principle loyalty is to their boss. (See the post Gender neutrality in brief 1 or the Oxford link below for an explanation of usage of their for gender nuetrality.)

Gender-neutral: A secretary’s principle loyalty is to his or her boss.

More detailed information and guidelines:

Oxford Online Dictionary – the language of gender

United Nations gender-inclusive language guidelines

Sources:

Some of the points in this post come from Appendix 3 in the Cambridge Academic English Advanced Students’ Book by Martin Hewings and Craig Thaine, Cambridge University Press 2012.

Oxford Online Dictionary – the language of gender

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Pamela Cotte

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