Gender sensitivity is the act of being aware of the ways people think about gender, so that individuals rely less on assumptions about traditional and outdated views on the roles of men and women. In language and the humanities, this is often expressed through people’s language choice. People can choose more inclusive language that doesn’t define gender, and many new words that are gender neutral have entered languages like English to substitute for more gender specific terms.
For centuries, many words referring to all people were specifically masculine. Terms like “man,” and “mankind,” which are used to describe all human beings, exclude females. While some people argue that such terms do include women, it’s been argued that these words have a belittling effect on women. True gender sensitivity, it is said, moves past these terms to include all and exclude none.
It is further contended by experts that the use of such terms is by no means innocent, and they have a negative cultural effect felt beyond the words. By making women either absent or non-apparent in terms like “mankind,” they become worth less and society will see them as possessing less value. This societal view in extreme forms is of detriment and corresponds to discrimination and even, arguably, things like greater violence against women.