The UVic Writer's Guide
The word man is ambiguous; it can mean either human being or male human being.
As a generic term, it has led to the misrepresentation and exclusion
of women; it is also likely to lead to such odd remarks as this
one from a student essay:
"It is later in the story that Jane Eyre faces the final type
of conflict: man against himself."
Examples and Some Alternatives:
- humanity, humankind, men and women, individuals, people.
(The use of the terms "individual" or "person" leads to problems
involving the use of the generic masculine pronoun. )
- humanity, humankind
- Primitive man
- primitive peoples, primitive men and women, primitive humans
- synthetic, hand-made
- chair, chairperson, co-ordinator, moderator.
(Don't use non-parallel terms such as chairman for men and chairperson
for women.) Note that the policy of the University of Victoria
is to use chair.
- business executive
Topics About Gender
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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria,
This page updated May 13, 1995