Lose the gender

My female colleagues have finally educated me, after no small effort, to use genderless words in my lectures, books, and scientific papers. I carefully read over each manuscript to make certain that his/her appears rather than his, that person replaces man, etc. As an officer of a scientific society, I carefully note that all committees are to be headed by a “chair,” not a “chairman.” (I still wish that someone would provide me with a satisfactory substitute for “Gentlemen:” as a salutation in business letters.)

How amusing it is, then, to read in The Northern Star that the 6,000 fans at the NIU-DePaul women’s basketball game were “definitely a sixth man,” and to read about women’s teams employing “man-to-man” defenses. I suppose athletes and sports writers live in a different culture altogether.

Thomas D. Rossing