A journalist stating in the way you describe it …. oh definitely there is no “good” way to state that. Why? The position is genderless and the writer is a professional and should be 5-star experienced in crafting words. To do so implies something dubious underneather the covers …. (sexism)
You are right it is unconscious.
Even for folks that know their gender and position, I believe there is also a confidence gap.
We were watching Westworld and my better half stated gee look at all the women kicking ass and leading in it. I stated back to her (something I honestly couldn’t have done a few years back), so what a woman can kill a man just as well as a man could and women can lead just as fine.
20 minutes later she stated …. you know women always have to clean up the mess of men (look at how the first season started).
I decided to not respond as my words could not be formed well enough to respond intellectually enough back.
This is exactly what some folks need to do …. if you are fearing a response or are uncomfortable. Stop and think.
My partner is not a feminist, but she is extremely strong willed, highly independent, and on IQ tests score higher then me (I am around 160).
My comment that I am forming as a response back is … it isn’t about cleaning up it is about healing the rift in life, environment, society and between two people. (but I digress)