1) General rule
English nouns rarely change form, even to indicate gender. As a general
rule, only nouns referring to people and some animals reflect gender
in their form. By the same token, unlike many other languages, the
adjectives modifying nouns will remain unchanged.
Example: My poor little dog died.
2) However, certain nouns -- especially those
referring to people -- may have different forms to indicate masculin
or feminine usage:
man -- woman
gentleman -- lady
actor -- actress
uncle -- aunt
father -- mother
The same can be said of certain
male and female animals:
a buck, a doe
a ram, a ewe
a bull, a cow
a stallion, a mare
3) In other cases, the word
"male" or "female" is added, if it is considered
necessary to be specific:
a female cat
a male giraffe
Note: If the gender of the person or animal is known, one will generally
use the pronoun "he" or "she"
to refer to it, as appropriate. When the gender is left unstated,
the pronoun "he" is generally
used when speaking of people, or "it"
when speaking of animals. Some objects are also considered to be gendered
in certain usages: some people may refer to a boat or a car as "she."
Certain nouns (especially the names of professions) are traditionally
associated with men or women, in which case one signals exceptions
to the tradition by adding "woman" (or "lady")
or "man" to the term:
They are in a group of male dancers.
My wife prefers to see a woman doctor.