Guys is lazy
A lot of people use guys as a gender neutral collective. It bothers me. I'm not a guy, and I don't want to be called one -- not individually, and not collectively.
The use of guys is lazy. J'accuse. Let me petition by demonstration.
It is rare that a use of guys is appropriate or accurate. Consider these uses of it, each observed in the last 72 hours:
- "Where are you guys from?"
Heard waiting to board at Logan Airport in Boston. In this instance, guys added no value whatsoever to the sentence. The speaker already had the attention of the couple they were speaking to. A more precise phrase would have been "you two". This would actually serve to cue the two people in the speaker's audience to focus their attention, and indicate to others that they were not intended participants in the exchange.
- "Are you guys having a great time tonight?!"
Heard at a spoken word event in Providence, Rhode Island. A poet at a slam event greeted the audience. What was the purpose of the use of guys here?
- "How was everything, guys?"
At lunch today in Boston, from the server. Once again, the word guys mostly served to misgender a pair of women, albeit carelessly, while its more apparent but failed purpose was mostly to arouse attention to the speaker -- the cashier already had our complete attention.
I could go on. Time and time again, guys is used when anything more descriptive, or even nothing at all, would have been a better choice.
Please, stop using guys as a gender neutral collective pronoun. It's not one. Don't be lazy. Not as a programmer. Not as a partner, a student, a steward of the environment, or as an ally. And not as a speaker.