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University Distributes Language Guide That Discourages Using Words With 'Man' In Them

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"English has changed since the Declaration of Independence was written."

CHAPEL HILL, NC - APRIL 21: An aerial view of the University of North Carolina campus including the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower (center) on April 21, 2013 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill distributed a writing a guide to students that advised against using words with "man" in them.

The guide created by UNC's Writing Center advises against using words such as "mailman," "man-made" and "policeman," according to a copy published online.

"English has changed since the Declaration of Independence was written," the guide says. "Most readers no longer understand the word ‘man’ to be synonymous with ‘person,’ so clear communication requires writers to be more precise."

CHAPEL HILL, NC - APRIL 21: An aerial view of the University of North Carolina campus including the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower (center) on April 21, 2013 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

The writing guide gives students alternative options to use instead, such as "postal carrier" instead of mailman. It also suggests students use "legislator" instead of "Congressman" and the word "actor" to describe both male and female entertainers.

"It is wise to be sensitive and aware of choices that are gender inclusiveness," Vicki Behrens, assistant director of the Writing Center, told The College Fix.  "We are glad to have a handout to help people navigate and make informed choices."

The College Fix reported that the guide was revised over the summer and includes a checklist for students who wish to be more "gender aware" while writing.

"Perhaps the best test for gender-inclusive language is to imagine a diverse group of people reading your paper," the guide suggests. "Would each reader feel respected? Envisioning your audience is a critical skill in every writing context, and revising with a focus on gendered language is a perfect opportunity to practice."

UNC is not the only school to publish writing guides that encourage students to prohibit using a certain set of words. A North Carolina State University women and gender studies professor promised to mark down students' grades if they use "sexist language" such as "mankind" in her class.

The University of New Hampshire pulled the "bias-free language guide" on its website that encouraged students to eliminate "problematic" words such as American, mother and healthy.

Washington State University also announced this semester that it would not mark down students' grades who used certain words despite a professor's syllabus stating so.

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