No ladies or gentlemen at the Lords!
Authorities at the House of Lords have warned staff against using 'offensive' terms such as 'man-made' or 'manpower' – yet fail to make any mention of the upper chamber's decidedly masculine name.
The Lords, which has almost 800 members and around 650 staff, has produced an 'Inclusive Language Guide' listing words and phrases to be avoided by employees.
The guide, obtained under Freedom of Information laws, refers to the traditional greeting 'ladies and gentlemen' as well as the word 'guys' when used to describe a group of people.
It states: 'The language you use impacts others around you, if the words and phrases you use are offensive this may exclude certain groups of people based on assumptions; cause distress or embarrassment; reinforce derogatory labels or stereotypes and belittle certain groups of people.'
The document tells staff that instead of using the phrase 'the common man', they should opt for 'average person' instead. Likewise, 'manpower' ought to be replaced with neutral-sounding alternatives such as 'workforce' and 'staffing', while 'man-made' should make way for 'synthetic' or 'artificial'.
In place of the phrase 'ladies and gentlemen', staff are asked to choose from a list of alternatives including 'one and all', 'colleagues' and 'folks'. Employees are also advised to refer to a person's 'socio-economic status' rather than their class.