Whatever you do, don’t call it the new “normal.” You might offend.

That’s the guidance from the Sununu administration’s Department of Information Technology for state government-run websites, according to a memo posted on the state’s internal network. (The link requires a password. The text of the memo can be found here.)

“Embracing Inclusive Language” by Director of User Experience Kathryn Michener offers guidance on informing… without offending. She — or rather “they” (gender-specific pronouns are discouraged) argues “the shift towards inclusive language isn’t about being overly politically correct; it’s about respect and empathy.”

“‘They’ is now considered a singular pronoun and should be used to replace ‘he or she’ or ‘his or her,’” the memo reads.

Many of the discouraged words are related to gender, like “chairman,” “manhole,” and “man-made” — the latter to be replaced with “human-made,” “artificial,” or “synthetic” to “acknowledge the contribution of all genders in the creation process.”

While gender sensitivities aren’t uncommon, the DoIT’s list of problematic terms contains words that aren’t widely known to be problematic, such as “citizen.” (You’re excluding “foreign tourists.”) Forget “brown bag” lunches, too. “Although seemingly innocent, this term can inadvertently reference the practice of using paper bags to determine skin color, and therefore admission to a facility or event,” the website states.

Even special counsel Robert Hur would have a problem posting his report on President Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified documents. Describing the president as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” is discouraged. The word “elderly” is deemed insulting for the purposes of state websites, while “older” and “senior” are O.K.

New Hampshire’s Chief Information Officer Denis Goulet says the guidelines are meant to help state employees when they update the language on agency websites.

“It’s a very narrow focus on things for people to think about when they develop language,” Goulet said.

Each state agency is responsible for managing its own website and assigns different employees to write updates when necessary, he said. The guidelines are meant to help these employees adopt inclusive language as they update the sites, he said.

As the memo states: “By consciously choosing inclusive language, we foster a more welcoming environment – one that values diversity and promotes equity.”

Which means no more dropping the “N” bomb.

“Using ‘normal’ to describe a typical or expected situation implies that anything different is abnormal or inferior. This can be exclusionary and hurtful to those who don’t fit into societal norms,” Michener wrote.

While following some of the guidelines will lead to clunky and ungrammatical writing, Goulet said writing for the web isn’t the same as writing an essay or prose. The guidelines were developed using best practices for web writing, he said.

This level of politically correct language policing would appear to be at odds with the politics of the state’s chief executive. Sununu’s been known to use some salty language related to bovine emissions while on the campaign stump, for example. And he famously referred to former President Donald Trump as “f***ing crazy” during a political speech in Washington, D.C. — a clear violation of his own agency’s guidelines.

(The use of “crazy” or “nuts” is discouraged. DoIT recommends “whacky” [sic] instead.)

But when NHJournal sent the text and link to Gov. Sununu’s office for a comment, there was no response.