Acceptability of sexist language among young people in Hong Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of the present study was to provide information on the acceptability of some selected gender-exclusive and inclusive usages and lexis in Hong Kong English. They include the selection of generic he or gender-neutral pronouns anaphoric to indefinite pronouns (e.g., everybody, someone) and occupational terms (e.g., doctor, lawyer, cleaner). A number of generic nouns and sex-unspecified nouns with or without morphologically marked gender were also examined (e.g., chairman vs chairperson, fireman vs fire fighter). The findings reveal that linguistic sexism is still prevalent in Hong Kong. However, the strong feminist movement in Western countries and in the education field has had an impact among young people, some of whom have shown concern to avoid gender-biased language. Although consistent gender differences were not found in the present study, some significant differences between men and women were revealed; a relatively higher proportion of women opted for the coordinate pronoun he/she and gender-neutral occupational terms, whereas more men opted for generic they. Copyright © 2007 Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-295
JournalSex Roles
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


Lee, J. F. K. (2007). Acceptability of sexist language among young people in Hong Kong. Sex Roles, 56(5), 285-295.


  • Linguistic sexism
  • Sexist language
  • Gender-neutral language
  • Hong Kong


Dive into the research topics of 'Acceptability of sexist language among young people in Hong Kong'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.