Gender and inclusive terminology

Use gender-neutral terms where possible, such as sales representative rather than salesman, and moderator instead of chairman.

When referring to a male or female (typically done in examples), you can use he, him, his, she, her, or hers. However, if possible:

  • Rewrite to use the second person (you)
  • Refer to a person’s role (reader, employee, customer, or client, for example)
  • Use person or individual

Don’t use constructions like he/she and s/he (slashes).

Sensitive product terms

Given the recent cultural trend to replace industry terms that have roots in painful historical pasts (like slavery or war) or words that are proven to be insensitive to certain races and genders, Adobe strives to maintain high standards and replace these terms.

Writers should immediately change what we can control (product documentation, how-tos, tutorials, courses, and videos.), and be a voice in Engineering Council’s recommendations for our product interfaces. Our goal is to be clear, well understood, and inoffensive until the industry (and Adobe) adopt long-term replacements for certain terms.

The usages in the following table enable us to make content changes that accomplish this goal. Writers and developers should seek guidance from the Engineering Council.

To change sensitive product terms

Writers can change problematic terms in documentation and by lobbying product teams to adhere to these standards and suggestions.

  1. Replace problem terms with accepted alternatives listed here, then publish.
  2. Leave UI references as is; submit tickets for product changes and discuss with product teams.
  3. Update docs as needed after product updates.
  4. See the Jira ticket below the table, useful for writer/engineer tracking of terminology product changes.
Deprecated term Alternatives Examples Notes
Leader Undecided Translates as Führer in German, which isn’t acceptable. We’re looking for similar terms that have become sensitive in other locales.
Whitelist Allowlist (single word preferred)
  • allowlistIframeDomains
  • Enable IP Allowed List
  • Click Allowlist
  • Create an allowlist
  • Create an allowed list
Adobe Engineering Council recommends allowlist.
Download the standard here.
Blacklist Denylist (single word preferred)
  • denylistIframeDomains
  • Enable IP Deny List
  • Click Denylist
  • Create a denylist
  • Create a deny list
Adobe Engineering Council recommends denylist.
Download the standard here.
Master / Slave (servers, relationships) Primary/replica
Primary/secondary
For servers and github, the industry is moving to main.
See the Engineering Council’s Inclusive Terminology Standard (referenced above).
GitHub Enterprise Server will make the default branch main in its 3.1 release. https://docs.github.com/en/enterprise-server@3.0/admin/release-notes#default-branch-renaming
Master (GitHub) Main Main branch
White hat / Black hat (hacking) Ethical / unethical Ethical hacker
Unethical hacker
See Rename the Git default branch

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