Inclusive writing: Glossary

Section: Inclusive writing

Go to the main page of this section: Inclusive writing – Guidelines and resources.

The Guidelines for Inclusive Writing include some terms that are specialized or that are used in a very specific sense. The definitions below can help you to understand some of the principles and techniques presented in the guide.


“The behavioural, cultural and psychological traits associated with an array of gender identities […] in a given society.” These gender identities include, but are not limited to, man and woman.

Source: Guide on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Terminology

gender binary
The division of gender into the two distinct and unvarying categories of man and woman.

“That is organized or separated by gender, or that is associated with a gender,” most often a binary gender (that is, man or woman).

Source: Gender and Sexual Diversity Glossary

gender identity

“A person's internal and deeply felt sense of being a man, a woman, both, neither, or somewhere along the gender spectrum.”

Source: Guide on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Terminology


Inclusive of all genders, binary and non-binary.

Synonym: gender-neutral

generic “they”
The pronoun “they” or any of its forms used with a non-specific singular antecedent such as “anyone,” “everyone,” “an employee,” etc. (for example, “Everyone submitted their report”).
A French gender-neutral neopronoun used by some non-binary individuals.
inclusive writing
Writing that uses a set of principles and techniques designed to promote inclusion and respect for diversity and to eliminate all forms of discrimination based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability or any other identity factor. See the article Inclusive writing: Background and principles.
A gender-neutral courtesy title used by some non-binary individuals and by those who simply prefer not to specify their gender. It is pronounced “miks.”
A new pronoun created to designate a person who does not identify with masculine or feminine pronouns.

“Referring to a person whose gender identity does not align with a binary understanding of gender such as man or woman.”

Source: Gender and Sexual Diversity Glossary

singular “they”
The pronoun “they” or any of its forms used to refer to a person whose gender is unknown. Also, a pronoun for some individuals with a non-binary gender identity.
specific “they”
The pronoun “they” or any of its forms used with a specific singular antecedent (for example, “Riley submitted their report”).
A preconceived idea that is widely held, but often inaccurate and offensive, about a race, a nationality, a sexual orientation, a gender identity, an ethnic group or any other identifiable group.

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