Universities Embrace Gender-Neutral Pronouns

Jessie Cohen Contributor
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Universities across the nation are creating rules to promote “gender-neutral language.” The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill recently handed out a “gender-inclusive language” guide that describes the proper way to address individuals. The book bans students from using words such as “mailman,” “police man,” “man made” and all other words including the term “man.”

It gives alternates for different titles or descriptions and explains that there are words with the same meaning to be substituted. “Mailman” to “postal carrier”; “congressman” to “legislator”; “freshman” to “first-year student” and any word involving “man” has a synonym.

The guide states, “English has changed since the Declaration of Independence was written. Most readers no longer understand the word ‘man’ to be synonymous with ‘person’, so clear communication requires writers to be more precise.”

One of the most famous lines from “Star Trek” was changed from “where no man has gone before” to “where no one has gone before.”

Harvard University changed their registration process to allow students to identify which pronouns they use, including gender-neutral options such as “ze” and “they.” Universities around the nation are broadening their horizons to acknowledge all types of students, who may not identify as male or female.

American University, Cornell University and MIT also posted guides explaining how to correctly use pronouns. These are just a few schools that are hoping on board with these current policies. According to NBC, The State University of New York announced last week that it’s working on a tool to let students choose among seven gender identities, indulging “trans man,” “questioning” and “genderqueer.”