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geographical terms

• The West, the Western world, Western civilization; the Midwest; the East; the Middle East, Middle Eastern, the industrialized North; the developing South; the third world. Follow Chicago 8.46–8.50.

Gender-Neutral Pronouns

• First, try to rework the copy to eliminate singular gendered pronouns (he, she, him, her, his, hers). Remove them altogether, use plural nouns and pronouns, or employ articles (a, an, the). Use non-gendered nouns as needed (student, person, individual, one), but try to do so sparingly to avoid excessive repetition and cumbersome structure.

Example: Each student must obtain the signature of his or her father or mother.

Change to: Each student must obtain the signature of a parent; or All students must obtain a signature from one of their parents.

• When absolutely unavoidable, use plural non-gendered pronouns (they, them, their) to replace singular gendered pronouns (he, she, him, her, his, hers).

Example: If a friend is late, wait for him or her outside; he or she will see you better.

Change to: If a friend is late, wait for them outside; they will see you better.

• Avoid conditional sentences introduced by if or when, which often require the use of pronouns.

Example: If the student is the principal researcher, he or she should place an asterisk after his or her name.

Change to: Place an asterisk after the name of the principal researcher.

• Where possible and appropriate, use second person (you, your, yours). Second person not only eliminates gender reference, but also makes the copy more personal and engaging.

Example: Each student must obtain his or her parking permit the first week of the semester.

Change to: You will need to obtain your parking permit the first week of the semester.

Gender-Neutral Language

•Eliminate generic use of gendered words by using substitutes instead. For example:

mankind: humankind, people, humanity
manpower: workforce, employees
manmade: synthetic, artificial
middleman: intermediary, go-between
chairman: chair (but do not change an official, formal title)
to man: to staff, to run, to operate
brotherhood, fellowship: kinship, solidarity, collegiality, unity, etc.
fathering, mothering: fostering, nurturing
Dear sir or madam: colleague, editor, professor

graduated

• “He graduated from college.” Not “He graduated college.”