In a Friday email to subscribers listing updated entries for its style manual, the Associated Press is urging journalists to avoid making references in news stories that suggest there are only two sexes in the human race.
The term “gender,” the AP Stylebook says, is “[n]ot synonymous with sex.”
“Gender refers to a person’s social identity while sex refers to biological characteristics,” the style guide explains.
“Not all people fall under one of two categories for sex or gender, according to leading medical organizations, so avoid references to both, either or opposite sexes or genders as a way to encompass all people. When needed for clarity or in certain stories about scientific studies, alternatives include men and women, boys and girls, males and females.”
The Stylebook issued further guidance for use of pronouns under an entry named “they, them, their.” Those third-person plural pronouns are preferred by some transgender or gender fluid individuals who say they are not comfortable with traditional male or female personal pronouns.