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Gender Inclusivity & Bias

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  • Gender Expression: External appearance of one’s gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut, or voice—which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors—and are typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.
  • Gender Identity: One’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both, or neither—how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves, sometimes different from their sex assigned at birth.

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Gender-Inclusive Language

The table below offers suggestions for using gender-neutral nouns. If you are a student using APA 7th edition, the APA Style Manual offers detailed guidelines on Bias-Free language This link opens in a new window, including for writing about gender This link opens in a new window and sexual orientation This link opens in a new window.

Gender-Inclusive Language
Gendered noun Gender-neutral noun
man person, individual
mankind humankind, people, human beings, humanity
freshman first-year student
man-made machine-made, synthetic, artificial
the common man the average person
chairman chair, chairperson, coordinator, head
mailman mail carrier, letter carrier, postal worker
policeman police officer
steward, stewardess flight attendant
actor, actress actor
congressman legislator, congressional representative
Sir (in “Dear Sir,” etc. Dear Sir or Madam, Dear Editor, Dear Members of the Search Committee, To Whom it May Concern
foreman supervisor, superintendent
waiter, waitress server

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