Forget ‘Manmade’: Berkeley Bans Gender-Specific Words

There will be no manholes in Berkeley, California. City workers will drop into “maintenance holes” instead. Nothing will be manmade in the liberal city but “human-made.” And students at the University of California, Berkeley, will join “collegiate Greek system residences” rather than fraternities and sororities. Berkeley leaders voted unanimously this week to replace about 40 gender-specific words in the city code with gender-neutral terms — an effort to be more inclusive that’s drawing both praise and scorn. That means “manpower” will become “human effort” or “workforce,” while masculine and feminine pronouns like “she,” ”her,” ”he” and “him” will be replaced by “they” and “them,” according to the measure approved Tuesday by the City Council.