This is so absolutely, over the top, ridiculous.
This student received a docked grade for using the word “mankind” rather than a gender neutral word.
Seriously? A student used a perfect legitimate, english word for a paper and they are being punished for it!? What kind of school system is this???
A Northern Arizona University student lost credit on an English paper for using the word “mankind” instead of a gender-neutral alternative.
Cailin Jeffers, an English major at NAU, told Campus Reform that she received an email from one of her professors, Dr. Anne Scott, informing her that she had been docked one point out of a possible 50 on a recent paper for “problems with diction (word choice)” related to her use of the word “mankind” as a synonym for “humanity.”
“The words we use matter very much, or else teachers would not be making an issue of this at all.”
“I would be negligent, as a professor who is running a class about the human condition and the assumptions we make about being ‘human,’ if I did not also raise this issue of gendered language and ask my students to respect the need for gender-neutral language,” Scott explained. “The words we use matter very much, or else teachers would not be making an issue of this at all, and the MLA would not be making recommendations for gender-neutral language at the national level.”
Scott then offered to let Jeffers revise the paper to earn additional points in five categories, including diction, but noted that she is under no obligation to do so.
“I will respect your choice to leave your diction choices ‘as is’ and to make whatever political and linguistic statement you want to make by doing so,” the professor wrote. “By the same token, I will still need to subtract a point because your choice will not be made in the letter or spirit of this particular class, which is all about having you and other students looking beneath your assumptions and understanding that ‘mankind’ does not mean ‘all people’ to all people. It positively does not.”