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14.07 Man, lady, girl, woman

Avoid using the generic man to refer to people in general and, where possible, as part of a compound:

  • anybody, anyone not a man
  • nobody, no one not no man
  • average person not common man
  • ordinary people not the man in the street
  • writer not man of letters
  • staff/operate/run a booth not man a booth
  • labour force, personnel, staff, work force not manpower
  • synthetic or manufactured not man-made
  • humanity, people not mankind
  • compatriot not countryman

Unless a minor is referred to or you wish to evoke refinement or high standing, use woman, not girl or lady:

  • The men and women of the Administrative Support Division


  • The men and girls of the Administrative Support Division

  • Seventy percent of the delegates were women.


  • Seventy percent of the delegates were ladies.