Member Rara Avis
I think that is a like saying "there is nothing wrong with evil when used in an evil setting", "There's nothing wrong with rude language, when in a setting full of rude language." I don't agree with that.
The problem with your analogies, Essorant, is that they're not even remotely analogous.
Unlike evil or rude language, informal communication isn't something to be avoided. On the contrary, more often than not, it's something to be embraced. An informal setting represents a lessening of tensions so that people can better communicate and relate to each other, often using a common language extension, be it street vernacular, text messaging lingo, or simply words that define us as sharing similar roots (y'all know what I mean, mate?).
Do just a little research, Essorant, into communication science and you'll quickly discover that informal communication is the backbone of our entire social structure, from the work place to the family and even to education. It's how we best get things done.
Yea right. Try calling your girlfriend or wife or mother or sister etc a "guy" and see how unwrong she thinks it is
See what I mean? "Yeah, right" is no less informal than guys. Informal words within the context of informal settings are, indeed, perfectly acceptable.
I would think, Essorant, that making up words willy-nilly, like unwrong or interestinger would bother you a lot more?
Oh, and as to your point, I refer to people in mixed gender groups as guys fairly frequently. Even here in the forums, it seems. I just did a Search for "guys" in the Discussion forums with Ron as the poster, and it came back with 168 instances of me calling people here "guys," regardless of gender. Some few of those posts were in the private forums, too, where I was addressing Moderators and Admins.
Not to get too far off topic, but I don't think I would ever use the term gals, simply because I've known too many women in the past who found it demeaning. Indeed, the word originally was a Cockney vulgarism, so I can see their point even if I don't agree with it. I might use "ladies and gentlemen" in a formal setting, but sorry, it sounds a bit pretentious at a family dinner. Besides, even beyond the limited options, I consciously try to address groups of people as people with commonalities not with differences. I certainly wouldn't address my classroom as "blacks and whites" or as "straights and gays," so why should I address them as "men and women?" Race, sexual orientation, and gender usually aren't pertinent to what I'm trying to say to a group, so there's no good reason to ever bring them up.