Cardiff Metropolitan University Moves To Deter The Use of Terms Like “Mankind” and “Heterosexual”

Cardiff_Metropolitan_logoWe have been discussing the rollback of free speech on U.S. college campuses as well the adoption of de facto speech codes.  Cardiff Metropolitan University has issued a list of phrases that are now deemed as inappropriate including  “right-hand man” and “gentleman’s agreement” as well as “forefather” and “sportsmanship.”


The policy also warns that the phrases “homosexual” and “heterosexual” should not be used as they are “laden with the values of a previous time.”  I am afraid that I am a bit of a dinosaur but those terms seem to still have meaning that are not just some blind bias of “a previous time.”

While I am uneasy with the school enforcing such codes, some of the suggestions are already used by many of us.

Here is the new list and the preferred substitutes:
“Best man for the job” – Best person for the job
“Businessman/woman” –  Businessperson, manager, executive
“Chairman/woman” – Chair, chairperson, convenor, head
“Charwoman, cleaning lady” – Cleaner
“Craftsman/woman” – Craftsperson, craft worker
“Delivery man” – Delivery clerk, courier
“Dear Sirs” – Dear Sir/Madam (or Madam/Sir)
“Fireman” – Fire-fighter
“Forefathers” – Ancestors, forebears
“Foreman/woman” – Supervisor, head juror
“Gentleman’s agreement” – Unwritten agreement, agreement based on trust
“Girls” (for adults) – Women
“Headmaster/mistress” – Head teacher
“Housewife” – Shopper, consumer, homemaker (depends on context)
“Layman” – Lay person
“Man” or “mankind” – Humanity, humankind, human race, people
“Man” (verb) eg man the desk – Operate, staff, work at
“Man in the street”, “common man” – Average/ordinary/typical citizen/person – but is there such a person?
“Man-hour” – Work-hour, labour time
“Man-made” – Artificial, manufactured, synthetic
“Manpower” – Human resources, labour force, staff, personnel, workers, workforce
“Miss/Mrs” – Ms unless a specific preference has been stated – though its common not to use titles at all these days
“Policeman/woman” – Police Officer
“Right-hand man” – Chief assistant
“Salesman/girl/woman” – Sales assistant/agent/clerk/representative/staff/worker
“Spokesman/woman” – Spokesperson, representative
“Sportsmanship” – Fairmess, good humour, sense of fair play
“Steward/ess” – Airline staff, flight attendant, cabin crew
“Tax man” – Tax officer/inspector
“Waitress” – Waiter, server
“Woman doctor” (or feminine forms of nouns eg actress, poetess) – Doctor (actor, poet etc)
“Working man”, “working mother/wife” – Wage-earner/taxpayer/worker
“Workman” – Worker/operative/trades person
“Workmanlike” – Efficient/proficient/skilful/thorough

41 thoughts on “Cardiff Metropolitan University Moves To Deter The Use of Terms Like “Mankind” and “Heterosexual””

  1. Humans have a tendency to try and over regulate human behavior–often with the best of intentions, there are frequently consequences sometimes unintended and other times which will obviously create new problems, some of which cannot be solved. Seems clear to me from historical experience, that the preferable solution in most instances is to all for a natural evolution of a new way to speak or behave or otherwise conduct one’s self. Such a solution may take longer but will be stronger and longer lasting. Sometimes an exception might need to be made if it were to involve public safety or some other immediate, serious consequence. Generally speaking though, people need to lighten up.

  2. Phrase on a Brit tv show: “My name is Mister Fagget and I am here with the shi..”

  3. Funnily enough the primary etymology of ‘man’ is gender neutral – inclusive, if you like; although most dictionaries now put the gender specific definition as the primary meaning, possibly as a result of current usage and pc logic.

    “Old English man, mann “human being, person (male or female)” Online Etymology Dictionary. I do recall seeing, long long ago, that the Germanic, from which the old English derives, contained the concept of ‘self aware’. I haven’t been able to locate that just now.

    What do we do with ‘human’?

  4. The school will have to change its name.
    “Cardiff” is a slang word used in poker to describe a guy with a card hidden up his sleeve in in his underwear.

  5. It is not within the purview of a university to police or restrict our speech.

    Speech changes with the times all on its own. It happens naturally, and is part of our culture, and if you enforce it, you are restricting free speech. If you are a male sanitation worker, you are called a trash man. I’ve never in my entire life seen a female driver pick up a trash can or dumpster, but I’m sure they are out there. They would be called a trash person or trash woman, I suppose. You may refer to them as “sanitation workers” when writing a paper, but you still yell out, “Did we empty out the kitchen trash? Because the trash man is here!”

    The allowed replacement for sportsmanship are insufficient and ineffective.

    In Spanish, the male plural refers to a group of males or females, and is considered gender neutral. They will be completely out of luck if they try to remake the Spanish language to be gender neutral without using the male version. And they are in a similar fashion getting tangled up policing the English language.

    Indeed, “actor” replacing “actress” is literally using the male version.

    We are wasting too much time and energy eroding our Constitutional rights in a fruitless effort to protect people from offense, unless they are a conservative.

    I would dearly love to see the reaction to a memo listing banned euphemisms and adjectives that must no longer be applied to conservative students, Presidents, or conservatives in general.

    Hmmm, someone please do that as a prank! It would be an eye opener to see Liberals suddenly realize there own speech and expression may be infringed.

    1. Karen – actor is neutral. I saw an interview of a female actor who was addressed as an actress and she stopped the interviewer and said she preferred ‘actor.’ She was very firm about it.

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