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Gender-inclusive language

Avoid gendered language that is biased towards a particular sex or gender.

Whenever possible, avoid gendered pronouns. When a person's gender is unknown, or when referring to people who don’t identify as either male or female, use “they” instead of "she" or "he." You can also avoid gendered pronouns by directly addressing the reader with "you" or "we."

When writing about a specific person or character, use their preferred pronouns. Some people use alternative pronouns such as ze/zir or xe/xem. Whenever possible, ask the person what their preferred pronouns are.

note

Many languages lack gender-inclusive options, like the pronoun "they" in English. To appeal to a global audience, try to rephrase your content to avoid gendered language. If gender-neutral language isn’t possible, then use the expression that’s most understandable.

Gender-inclusive writing techniques

Use the following guidelines to write for a gender-inclusive audience.

Use gender-inclusive nouns and expressions

Whenever possible, use a gender-inclusive expression instead of a gendered expression. If a term doesn't have a gender-inclusive equivalent, then consider rewriting your sentence to avoid the term.

If replacing a common term might cause confusion for readers, then refer to the non-inclusive term on the first use and put it in parentheses. For example, "a person-in-the-middle attack (sometimes called a man-in-the-middle attack)." Afterward, use the inclusive replacement term throughout the rest of the document.

Note: The following list isn't exhaustive, and language is constantly evolving. If you're unsure about a term or have other language recommendations to add to this list, please contact the Content Quality team in the #unity-style-guide Slack channel.

GuidelineIncorrectCorrect
Replace gendered occupational titles.
  • Ombudsman
  • Waiter, waitress
  • Mailmain
  • Ombuds
  • Server
  • Mail carrier, courrier
Replace expressions containing words that directly refer to gender, such as "man" or "woman," or "male" and "female."
  • Man, woman
  • Ladies and gentlemen
  • Man-in-the-middle (MITM)
  • Mom test, girlfriend test, grandma test
  • Man-hours
  • Businessman
  • Manpower
  • Manned
  • Mankind
  • Manmade
  • Female adapter, female connector
  • Person, individual
  • Colleagues, everyone
  • Person-in-the-middle (PITM), on-path attacker
  • Beginner user test, novice user test
  • Person-hours
  • Businessperson
  • Workforce, labor force
  • Staffed, managed
  • Humanity
  • Artificial, synthetic
  • Socket, input
Replace gendered relationship terms in general contexts or when a person's gender is unknown.
  • Father, mother
  • Wife, husband
  • Son, daughter
  • Sister, brother
  • Parent, care-giver
  • Spouse, partner
  • Child
  • Sibling

Replace or omit gendered pronouns

Whenever possible, replace or omit gendered pronouns when the gender of the subject is unknown or unimportant to the text.

GuidelineIncorrectCorrect
Pluralize the noun.A software developer must test her code thoroughly.Software developers must test their code thoroughly.
Use the singular "they."If an employee discovers a security breach, he has a duty to inform his direct supervisor.If an employee discovers a security breach, they have a duty to inform their direct supervisor.
Use an article instead of a pronoun.Each employee must display his or her ID badge while visiting a Unity office.Each employee must display an ID badge while visiting a Unity office.
Omit the pronoun entirely.No employee may expense travel costs without his or her lead's approval.No employee may expense travel costs without lead approval.
Repeat the noun that a pronoun would replace.If a new user wants to access the website, he must first create an account.If a new user wants to access the website, the user must first create an account.
Address the reader directly.The applicant must provide his or her references upon request.You must provide your references upon request.