British Civil Servants told to avoid pronouns

Oct 15, 2017 by

by Rory Tingle, Mailonline:

Civil servants should avoid using gendered pronouns like ‘he’ and ‘she’ or assuming someone with the title ‘Mr’ is male, according to the latest government directives.

The rules, which apply to all Whitehall departments, are intended to avoid causing offence to people whose chosen gender does not identify with their biological sex.

But opponents branded the language code ‘politically-correct claptrap’ and accused the government of trying to bring in ‘social engineering by the back door’.

The Service Manual is produced by the Cabinet Office and used by government departments to design their websites. ­­

These include taxpayer-facing departments such as HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Civil servants must follow the points in the manual to meet the ‘Digital Service Standard’, which means their department’s services are good enough for public use.

In the section on gender it advises: ‘You should address the user as “you” where possible and avoid using gendered pronouns like “he” and “she”.’

Pronouns are allowed in some cases, the document states, but civil servants should never guess a person’s gender from their title.

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