The EU Issues Guidelines Banning 'Gendered' Words Like 'Mankind'

Brittany M. Hughes | November 9, 2018
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The European Union is weeding out “gendered” words and phrases that differentiate between men and women from its verbal playbook, in new rules that instruct translators to avoid using these words when translating between countries.

According to the Daily Mail, in new guidelines called “Gender Neutral Language In The European Parliament,” the EU instructs translators who convert documents between the different languages of the parliament’s 28 member countries to avoid using so-called “gendered” language, including previously accepted gender-neutral words like “chairman,” “layman,” “man-made” and “mankind.”

“The online document suggests words such as 'chairman' be replaced by 'chairperson', and 'policeman' or 'policewoman' by substituted for 'police officer,’” the Daily Mail reports.

The guidelines, which the EU released quietly, go on to state:

Gender-neutral or gender-inclusive language is more than a matter of political correctness. Language powerfully reflects and influences attitudes, behaviour and perceptions.

In order to treat all genders equally, efforts have been employed since the 1980s to propose a gender-neutral/gender-fair/non-sexist use of language, so that no gender is privileged, and prejudices against any gender are not perpetuated.

The use in many languages of the word 'man' in a wide range of idiomatic expressions which refer to both men and women, such as manpower, layman, man-made, statesmen, committee of wise men, should be discouraged. 

With increased awareness, such expressions can usually be made gender-neutral.

Welcome to 1984, everyone.