Sexist Language

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This week, I’ve noticed an alarming number of offenses in sexist language. Sexist language isn’t limited to using the generic HE; it goes far beyond this, but I’ll cover this for now.

It is no longer acceptable to use HE to represent the human (or any) population—unless the entire population is male and that fact is verifiable. It is acceptable, however, to alternate between HE and SHE (or him and her) throughout a text, to represent an unknown gender; at first this may seem confusing so it is advisable to use neutral words that do not indicate gender. Here’s are three paragraphs that exemplify this rule; the first is sexist, the second uses alternating pronouns, and the third substitutes pronouns with other nouns that do not indicate gender:

  1. Just before the birth, help your child select his own special gift to give to the baby at the hospital. Gently help him choose an infant-appropriate toy. Help him wrap it and place it in your hospital bag. When he comes to visit the new baby at the hospital, have the gift available so he can present it to Baby.
  2. Just before the birth, help your child select his own special gift to give to the baby at the hospital. Gently help her choose an infant-appropriate toy. Help him wrap it and place it in your hospital bag. When she comes to visit the new baby at the hospital, have the gift available so he can present it to Baby.
  3. Just before the birth, help your child select a special gift to give to the baby at the hospital. Gently help the child choose an infant-appropriate toy. Help the soon-to-be sibling wrap it and place it in your hospital bag. When it comes to visit the new baby at the hospital, have the gift available so the older child can present it to Baby.

grammar, grammar rule, english grammar, grammar check, grammar help

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