The US city of Berkeley has no more "manholes", "policewomen" or "firemen" - well, so to speak.

According to an ordinance adopted this week by local authorities in the northern California city, all such commonly used words in city documents are now banned and must be replaced by more gender-neutral alternatives.

"In recent years, broadening societal awareness of transgender and gender-nonconforming identities has brought to light the importance of non-binary gender inclusivity," said council member Rigel Robinson, the main author of the measure.

"Therefore, it is both timely and necessary to make the environment of City Hall and the language of city legislation consistent with the principles of inclusion."

As such, common words such as "bondsman" will be replaced by the non-gendered term "bonds-person," "manhole" becomes "maintenance hole" and a "pregnant woman" will now be referred to as a "pregnant employee".

The municipal code will also replace the terms "sorority" and "fraternity" with "collegiate Greek system residence," while "manpower" will be changed to "human effort".

"Firemen" or "firewomen" will be replaced with "firefighters".

Additionally, personal pronouns  - "he" or "she" - will be changed to the neutral gender like "the attorney" or "the merchant".

"There is power in language," said Mr Robinson in a tweet praising passage of the ordinance. "This is a small move, but it matters."