Every now and again, I get a work email addressed to “Gentlemen”. I’m generally cc’d, so technically the addressing is correct. But the other day, I was in the “to” list, so I decided I was justified in calling the author on it.
His justification – it had originally been to three (all male) people, and at the last minute he added me, as he realised I needed to get the email also.
Underneath the superficially reasonable explanation though, any email addressed to “Gentlemen”(whether I’m in the to or the cc list) says to me that the author’s default (and probably entirely unconscious) assumption is that his (invariably his) work colleagues are male. And when there is (occasionally) a woman in his list, he has to change from his normal approach. Most of the people who send those emails are superficially entirely unsexist in person. But I’m still, deep in their subconscious, the slightly odd interloper that has changed their workplace from the way it used to be.