Usage and Grammar

Q. In an academic manuscript for journal submission, we contrast those who pursue deep and narrow expertise with those with the breadth and reputation of a Renaissance man. How can we best use “Renaissance man” without being sexist and without using quotation marks, which feels amateurish. Thank you very much.

A. It’s too bad that this perfect phrase is undeniably sexist. If you use it only once, you could either write “Renaissance man or woman” or gloss the phrase with a semi-apology (“what we used to call a Renaissance man”). If it’s going to keep cropping up, you would do better to find your own expression. “Renaissance mind”?