Gender. Gender and problematic words

    The content of these guidelines is taken from the Vives University Network’s Interuniversity Style Guide for Writing Institutional Texts, an interuniversity project in which the UPC participated with the support of the Secretariat for Universities and Research of the Government of Catalonia.


    Words containing man but including reference to women

    • A few words that include reference to both men and women are intrinsically masculine, and can be easily substituted with gender-neutral terms. These include mankind (humanity), manpower (staff), prehistoric man and caveman (prehistoric humans, early societies), Englishmen, etc. (the English) and Englishman, etc. (an English person). Although adjectives and verbs are not considered gender-specific, these two are best avoided: manmade and to man.

      mankind humanity
      manpower staff


    Use of bachelor, master, alumni and fellow

    • Although generally considered gender-neutral, bachelor, master, alumni and fellow have, or have had, gender-specific meanings. The word bachelor may also refer to a single man, and master can refer to a young man or a male teacher (feminine mistress). The Latin alumnus is properly masculine-only (fem. singular, alumna; masc. plural, alumni; fem. plural, alumnae). Meanwhile, fellow is sometimes considered to refer primarily to men. In present-day use, none of these words retain any real masculine connotations, and bachelor of science, master of arts, alumni and fellow are all perfectly applicable to both men and women. Nonetheless, you can often use more common terms: alumni can be replaced by graduates or former students; and fellow is often better expressed as colleague, peer or member of faculty.