Princeton revises ‘man-ban’ language guide

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PRINCETON, N.J. — Princeton University, which made national headlines last school year for a range of student social justice activism, is walking back human resources department efforts to cancel-out the use of the word “man” in favor of more gender-neutral terms.

The redaction was first spotted by the website

In March 2015 the university’s human resources department released “Guidelines for Using Gender Inclusive Language,” a policy change that a school spokesman said is necessary to “reflect the university’s initiative of fostering an inclusive environment.”

The original guide recommended such steps as replacing gendered pronouns like “he, him, his, and she, her hers, by rewriting the text in the plural.”

“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,” the original manual stated, meaning that common words like ‘foreman’ would change and become ‘foreperson,’ and other words like ‘mankind’ being replaced by ‘humanity.’

The original guide listed more than 30 words and phrases that should be dumped.

The university, however, quietly revised this guide at some point this month after the website and others discovered it.

The revised policy manual now advocates for the removal of just nine words, such as ‘waitress,’ ‘mailman’ and the aforementioned ‘foreman.’

The original guide included a reference noting that the language shift strictly applied to human resource department communications but noted that the changes were “endorsed by the Institutional Equity Planning Group as preferred university practice.”

The revised policy guide now omits any reference to “preferred university practice.”

John Cramer, Princeton’s director of media relations, told Campus Reform that “the guidelines have never applied outside HR documents” and added that the revision of the original guide was “due to recent misinterpretation and incorrect media reporting of the guidelines.”

“The HR department clarified and streamlined the guidelines to eliminate any misunderstanding of their purpose and scope,” Cramer added.