The consistent use of male-gendered generics to represent all people can have a psychological impact on women by making them feel excluded and by reinforcing traditional gender stereotypes-even when that effect is not intended. Social science research demonstrates that language is a social force that can have an impact on how women view themselves and are viewed by others.
Most modem legal writing texts and style manuals recommend that writers use gender-neutral language, which is achieved by avoiding the use of gendered generics (the use of male or female nouns and pronouns to refer to both men and women). For example, gender neutrality could be achieved by referring to members of Congress, rather than Congressmen; by referring to police officers, rather than policemen; and by referring to workers, rather than workmen. While avoidance of malegendered pronouns is more challenging, a number of effective alternatives exist. These include using plural nouns and pronouns (pluralizing), repeating the noun, using an article instead of a pronoun, using the relative pronoun who, using paired pronouns (he or she), and recasting the sentence to avoid the need for a pronoun. The most noticeable technique is paired pronouns; most style manuals recommend using the more invisible techniques whenever possible.
36 Okla. City U. L. Rev. 531 (2011).