University's 'Non-Sexist' Language Guide Insists No One is Rightly a 'Maintenance Man'

Charles Krupa

Do you employ sexist language? If you’ve hired any kind of small-repair work, the answer may be affirmative.

So makes clear the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC).


The school boasts an online “History of Pronouns” course guide, which claims that “pronouns are constantly evolving in political ways.” Subsequently presented proof is largely the fact that we’ve moved on from “thee,” “thou,” and “thine.”

Beyond illustrating such lightning-rate change, the page provides readable resources. One of those is the school’s Practical Guide to Non-Sexist Language, and that handbook takes the “man” out of “manual.” At least, such a move would presumably be approved.

A few words to be axed from American vocabulary:

  • craftsmanship (use “craftship”)
  • sportsmanship (use “sportship”)
  • penmanship (use “script”)
  • workmanlike (use “well-executed”)

More words/phrases and their proper replacements:

  • man and wife –> husband and wife
  • black tie gala –> semiformal
  • founding fathers –> founders
  • master’s degree –> graduate degree
  • lady luck –> luck
  • alderman –> ward representative
  • landlord –> owner

Don’t point out that someone is female:

  • woman’s intuition –> hunch
  • actress –> actor
  • heroine –> hero
  • priestess –> priest
  • bachelorette –> single
  • suffragette –> suffragist

A drum major is not at all a majorette, but no matter:

  • majorette –> drum major

And where repair and maintenance are concerned, you’re mandated not to include “man”:

  • handyman –> odd-job worker
  • maintenance man –> maintenance worker

Not long ago, ours was a nation nuzzling the free expression of ideas. Free speech was, perhaps, our most heralded tenet. But we seem to have evolved far beyond that, even more quickly than we booted “thee” and “thine.”

These days, syllabic engineering is all the rage:

She’s No ‘Showgirl’: Microsoft Pummels the Problematic by Correcting Your Unwoke Words

The Associated Press Says It’s ‘Dehumanizing’ to Use ‘the’ in Descriptions — Such as ‘the French’

Utah Public University’s ‘Inclusive Style Guide’ Forbids Students to Say ‘Biologically Male/Female’

Host of School’s Free Speech Event Issues Language Guide Prohibiting ‘Man,’ ‘Woman,’ and ‘Mother’

American Journalism’s Writing Guide: Call a Transgender Woman Simply ‘a Woman’

In the Beginning, God Created ‘Hir’ and ‘Zir’: Christian University Converts to Pronounism

Back to the University of Illinois Chicago, the page directing readers to a language guide looks to completely invalidate any such guidance:

  • Prescriptivism: the widespread belief that there is one and only one correct way of using the language.
  • The recommendation that one variant should be used rather than another is generally motivated not by logic, but by various social considerations: The preferred variant is usually that favored by influential persons and groups.
  • The linguistic value judgments characteristic of contemporary prescriptivism are, in effect, social comments on speakers, rather than valid metalinguistic statements.

Hence, maybe everyone should simply speak as they wish.

Either way, at the college level, some female-specific terms are still actively encouraged:



See more content from me:

Methodist-Founded University Celebrates Its ‘Condom Fairy’

Utah College Offers Course in ‘How to Be a B*tch’

Report: Yale Council Tells Whites to Put Their Coats in Puddles so Black People Can ‘Walk With Ease’

Find all my RedState work here.

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