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Stop Saying Guys And Watch Your #WordsAtWork: David Morrison

But Julie Bishop cautioned against interfering with free speech.

Australian of the year David Morrison wants everyone to stop saying "guys" at work.

The retired Lieutenant General on Wednesday launched a new Diversity Council Australia video aimed at cracking down on gender-based language, or words that can exclude minority groups.

"Exclusive language, gender-based language or inappropriate language, has as much a deleterious or disadvantaged effect as something where you're saying something blatantly inappropriate to another human being," General Morrison told ABC News Breakfast.

"All the campaign is doing is saying look, it's a proven fact that more inclusive [and] more diverse workforces create real diversity of thinking and are more productive, more effective.

"One of the ways that you can engender that type of environment is being careful about how you speak to other people, talking to them with respect and listening to their views with respect."

The video is part of the Diversity Counsel's #WordsAtWork campaign, which also calls for the word "gay" not to be used as a negative.

It also takes aim at other words and terms: 'girls', when referring to women, as well as 'feisty', 'bossy' and the term 'ball breaker.'

"You wouldn't say that about a bloke, would you, just for speaking up," an actress says in the video.

In another scene, a woman uses the word 'gay' to express her displeasure.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop cautioned against interfering with freedom of speech and words such as "guys" were so generic they should not cause offence.

"I don't think we should try and interfere with the freedom of speech in this country to a point where people are too concerned about day-to-day conversations," she told the ABC.

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