KU Style Guide

gender-Neutral language

In general, use terms for jobs and roles that can apply to any gender. Such language aims to treat people equally and is inclusive of people whose gender identity is not strictly male or female. Here are some examples of preferred usage. This list is not all-inclusive, it can serve as a framework by which to consider other words.
     — actor In general, use this term for any gender. Use actress for a woman only in stories about the Oscars, Emmys or Tonys, all of which use the word actress in their awards.
     — alumnus, alumni, alumna, alumnae, alum The terms alumnus (s.) and alumni (pl.) for men, and alumna (s.) and alumnae (pl.) for women, are acceptable. If a gender-neutral term is desired, alum or alums is acceptable.
     — business owner, business person
Not businessman/businesswoman.
     — chair, chairperson
Not chairman/chairwoman.
     — colleagues, guests, all, friends, folks
Not ladies and gentlemen.
     —
crew, staff, workforce, workers
Not manpower.
     — freshman/freshmen The terms freshman/freshmen are acceptable because of their common use on college campuses. If a gender-neutral term is desired, first-year student is acceptable.
     — humanity, humankind, humans, human beings, people Not mankind.
     — human-made, human-caused, artificial, synthetic
Not man-made.
     —
police officer
Not policeman, policewoman or patrolman.
     — to staff, to run, to operate
Not to man.
     — upperclassman/underclassman
The terms upperclassman and underclassman are acceptable because of their common use on college campuses. If a gender-neutral term is desired, lower division/upper division undergraduate is acceptable.
     — U.S. representative, representative, member of Congress
are preferred. Congressman and congresswoman are acceptable because of their common use. Do not use congressperson.