How Everyday Language is Becoming More PC

March 30, 2017

 

In the latest episode of Red River TV, Janelle and I talk about my run in with the changing language in media and culture. It all started with me updating my resume.Every year I go through my various career social networks and update my resume. It's a fairly standard process where I go over the document, amending and adding new information. One of my last steps with anything I write is to copy and paste it into my preferred web-based editing software. After pasting my resume into this program, I received a strange surprise. My software editor not only checked my content for grammar and sentence structure, it checked it for gender bias. The trigger for this critique was my use of the term "man hours". 

 

 

 

I was a heavy equipment mechanic for almost ten years before I got into the energy sector. During this time I used man hours to track my working hours. The term is commonly used in certain industries and it's understood that "man hours" in itself is a gender neutral term. My grammar editor recommended I change the offensive word to "person hours", "working hours", or "staff hours". Now, to be honest, those changes aren't a thing. Anyone in that industry wouldn't know what I meant by the term person hours. These are for all intents purposes, made up words. 

 

This type of language manipulation is nothing new. It's move into the mainstream is nothing new either. Media, in general, is moving toward this gender bias averse posture. The AP ( Associated Press ), one of the world's largest news agencies, recently launched their take on gender bias writing in media. They made revisions to their AP style book that redefines how they refer to gender. The book which is updated yearly, and is followed by corporations, journalism schools, and traditional newsrooms around the globe. AP style is the standard for most news writers. If you've ever read a news chances are it contains the basic structure of AP writing style. 

 

Liberalism has effectively poisoned every aspect of our daily lives. The term man hours has been in use since 1912, on the other hand, person hour was first used in 1975. This isn't the end of the world. Grammarly is one of the best editors I've ever used, and I will continue to use the service. They're a private company and free to do as they please. I just wanted to highlight how pervasive this backward snowflake culture has infiltrated modern society. 

 

man-hour

[man-ouuh r, -ou-er] 

Spell Syllables

 

Word Origin

 

noun

1.

a unit of measurement, especially in accountancy, based on an ideal amount of work accomplished by one person in an hour.

Abbreviation: man-hr.

Origin of man-hour

 

 

The editing software gave me this explanation of why my use of Man Hours was wrong.

 

Possible Gender-Biased Language

 

man hours      person hours 

man hours      working hours

man hours      staff hours

 

 

In this context, some readers may find man hours biased or non-inclusive. Consider replacing it with a more neutral term.

 

Certain words and phrases can express bias, even when the writer has no intent to do so. Choosing the right words can be especially complicated when their appropriateness is highly context-dependent and when not everyone agrees on what is acceptable and what’s not. But there are a few guidelines you can follow. If gender is irrelevant to the topic at hand, it’s usually best to avoid gender-specific titles when a neutral alternative is available (e.g., use reporter or journalist instead of newsman). The same is true for general terms that are meant to apply to all genders (e.g., use humankind instead of mankind).

 

Inappropriate:

The company spent months looking for a newspokesman.

 

Appropriate:

The company spent months looking for a newspokesperson.

 

Inappropriate:

If you get lost, ask a policeman for help.

 

Appropriate:

If you get lost, ask a police officer for help.

 

Inappropriate:

This discovery could change the world for all mankind.

 

Appropriate:

This discovery could change the world for all humanity.

Please reload

Please reload