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Berkeley City Council bans 'manpower,' 'manhole,' other 'male-centric' terms while 'he' and 'she' are getting replaced by 'they'


'Women and non-binary individuals are just as entitled to accurate representation'

Photo by Susan Crocker/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images

The University of California, Berkeley, was once known as the birthplace of the 1960s free-speech movement, but violent protests against conservative speakers on campus in recent years seemingly put a blemish on the school's lofty status as a haven for unfettered expression.

And a recent move by the city of Berkeley shows it may be catching the fever.

What happened?

A just-adopted ordinance is ordering that all words implying gender are to be removed from the city's codes — meaning no more "manhole" or "manpower" or "chairmen" or "policemen" or "policewomen," CNN reported.

Now all such words are to be replaced by gender-neutral terms, the network said.

So what will replace "manhole"? That would be "maintenance hole," CNN noted.

And as for "manpower"? Here's looking at you "human effort," the network added.

The item passed Tuesday night without discussion or comments and was not controversial, Berkeley City Council member Rigel Robinson — the measure's primary author — told CNN.

"There's power in language," Robinson added to the network. "This is a small move, but it matters."

But that ain't all

There also was the matter of weeding out pesky gendered pronouns like "he" and "she."

Never fear. The ordinance indicates those two words will be replaced with "they," CNN said.

"Having a male-centric municipal code is inaccurate and not reflective of our reality," Robinson added to the network. "Women and non-binary individuals are just as entitled to accurate representation. Our laws are for everyone, and our municipal code should reflect that."

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