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Word Count: 558
Is it really necessary to use gender-neutral language It is very important to use non-sexist language even if a person does not have any discriminative intentions at all Everyone consciously or not tends to assign masculine gender to terms such as man even when this word is used for human beings Man amongst other expressions or grammatical constructions should be avoided Every language reflects the prejudices of the society in which it evolved and it is a fact that our society has been a male-dominated society Language is naturally changing along with society Our present culture still has many traces of sexism prejudice and patriarchal society and so has the language we use But if language is changed it may influence mind-sets as a consequence Some years ago no one thought German words like StundentInnen would ever be accepted but by now it is in common use and it does not look unusual or strange anymore A similar process took place in English with terms such as chairperson Language and meaning have always been changing and we are aware of that developement When we come across the word Nigger reading Huckleberry Finn we do not assume that Mark Twain was a racist because we know about the use of the term in that period For a long time people were using the expression Negro not being aware that it could offend a black person in fact many blacks used the terms themselves including Martin Luther King But people have agreed on not using such expressions any longer because even if not intended they could still hurt someones feelings One cannot tell other people what they mean by what they say and of course sexually biased language is rarely used deliberately But there is the common principle that meaning also resides in the perception of the interpreter and not only in the mind of the speaker What people intend to mean
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