It has been long shown that language inevitably attracts our attention towards world characteristics that may be, in context, irrelevant. As such, we do advise that when addressing persons, gendered terms should – as much as possible and when not relevant – be avoided, even when it is known.
To: Dear Ms Mueller
Prefer: Dear Anne Mueller
In these cases, of course, one could argue that the first name is gendered, and one could find other ways to address this person, when applicable (e.g., Dear Dr Mueller). If you need, or want, to avoid first names, and no non-gendered alternatives are possible, Ms should be used for women, and Mr for men. Options specifying marital status (Miss or Mrs) should be avoided.
When addressing unknown persons, prefer formulations such as Dear Colleague, Dear Professor, Dear Editor, etc. In line with the first issue presented in this guide, please avoid all uses of the term man as a generic. So, for example, a chairman becomes a chairperson. Other examples are given below.
Similarly, avoid all explicit mention of gender when using role nouns, such as male nurse, female athlete or housewife.