Date: Fri, 20 Jan 1995 13:29:05 EST From: Larry Horn Subject: Re: 2 pl As far as I can tell, any genericization (creeping sex-neutrality) of "guys" only occurs within the vocative "you guys" context. Compare: I said "Let's go,you guys", and the women finally left. (OK) I said "Let's go, women", and the guys finally left. (no coref. possible) My students tell me that one problem is that in their age group, none of the alternatives (woman, girl, lady) really works, while for males of the same age "guy" is standard (not man or boy), and their suspicion is that it's easier to drop the sex-specific gender feature on 'guy' than adapt one of the existing age- or status-inappropriate female forms. Maybe it's a bit like the (much) earlier generalization of "bachelor" (bachelor girl, bachelor apartment) to a gender neutral term replacing the tabooed "spinster". --Larry