Princeton tells staff to avoid the word ‘man’ at all costs

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A language guide produced by Princeton University tells employees to avoid using gendered language, including just about every use of the word “man.”

The set of “gender inclusive style guidelines” is intended by Princeton to eradicate the pernicious influence of gendered terms in the English language.

“Replace gendered pronouns, e.g., he, him, his, and she, her, hers, by rewriting the text in the plural,” the guide recommends in one tip. In another, it suggests staff “use gender-neutral occupational titles and gender-neutral generic terms instead of … expressions that contain the word man and the use of man as an adjective or verb.”

What does that mean? A “foreman” should now be a “foreperson,” according to the guide. “Mankind” should be replaced by “humanity” or the substantially less-elegant “people.” “Workmanlike” behavior should now simply be “skillful” behavior. Instead of “manning” a post, one should “operate” or “staff it.”

The guide is the work of Princeton’s human resources department, which apparently expects school staff to adhere to it. The policy has been in place since March 2015, but was first publicized Thursday by The College Fix.

When contacted, Princeton spokesman John Cramer told the Fix the guidelines “reflect the university’s initiative of fostering an inclusive environment.”

Many schools have released lengthy guides telling students or staff what words and phrases they should or should not use. A guide at the University of New Hampshire claimed words like “American” were problematic. At North Carolina State University, the phrase “land of opportunity” was denounced as a microaggression. Other schools, including the University of Tennessee and Princeton itself, have produced guides encouraging the use of gender-neutral pronouns.

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