Re: generic "he"

Subject: Re: generic "he"
From: "Nancy S. Burns" <nburns -at- NOAO -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 1994 10:58:24 -0825

Excerpt from Dave Meek' posting of 11/21/94, <dave -at- disc-synergy -dot- com>:

>The generic "he" conjures neither male nor female images to my
>mind--probably because the generic "he" is *generic*. The
>kindest thing I can say about those offended by the generic "he"
>is that they need professional help."

Dave's comment ignores the bottom line, which lies not in our personal
opinions about using inclusive language, but in objective reasoning:
Based on our technical documentation, how do we want our readers to feel
about our company's product or service?

FACT: If we do NOT use inclusive, non-sexist language in our work as a
technical communicator, then we risk alienating some of our readers. Their
negative feelings about the documentation may be transferred to negative
feelings about our company, which can negatively affect sales or new

Nancy S. Burns, Technical Writer
National Solar Observatory
Tucson, Arizona
e-mail: nburns -at- noao -dot- edu

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