Jeroen Roovers posted on Fri, 04 Feb 2011 16:08:24 +0100 as excerpted:
> On Fri, 04 Feb 2011 03:26:16 +0100 Christian Ruppert <email@example.com>
>> Hey guys,
> Only half of people?
That's just /begging/ a reply. (In reference to "begging the question" and
the controversy surrounding it. Linguists and perscriptivists vs.
descriptivists, etc. An entirely different topic but look up language log
for some /hours/ of interesting reading, if you're ever bored. =:^)
On wictionary, "guys" has three definitions:
1. plural form of guy
2. (colloquial) Persons, irrespective of their genders.
3. (colloquial) A form of address for a group of male persons or a group
of mixed male and female persons.
All three of those are potentially gender neutral. There's two sets of
synonyms listed, the first gender neutral (people, persons, folks), the
second "male persons" (blokes, chaps, dudes, fellows, gents).
Following thru on the first def, guy (and disregarding the other meaning,
noun/verb related to an anchor or support cable), we find that the
original reference was to Guy Fawkes, an Englishman hanged in 1606 for his
role in the Gunpowder Plot.
Here, we have five definitions:
1. (UK) (In direct reference to the origin.) An effigy of a man burned...
2. A male.
3. (colloquial, in plural) people.
4. (colloquial, of animals and sometimes objects) thing, creature.
5. (colloquial, technology) thing, unit.
This usage is not always seen as accurate or correct.
(The example quotes are interesting but omitted for brevity.)
Of particular interest here is the usage note, mentioning "Hey guys" in
In plural, guys is not completely gender-neutral but it may refer to
people of either sex in some circumstances and forms; "Hey guys" can
generally refer to either gender, as a greeting in its plural form.
[R]eferring to a group of people as "guys" usually means a group of men or
a mixed group[.]
So while it /could/ refer to only half of people (males), alternatively
and in the wider sense, it /could/ refer to a /superset/ of all people
instead, including not only animals but even things! (Usage: "This guy
here, measures the voltage.)
Just in case someone has a problem with wictionary, Merriam-webster.com
has similar definitions, including specifically the person usage, and
Duncan - List replies preferred. No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master." Richard Stallman