By CLARISSA BYE, The Daily Telegraph

FORMER prime minister John Howard has condemned a politically correct push to ban words like “him” and “her” as “language madness” that threatens centuries of Western culture.

The nation’s second longest serving leader weighed in to the debate on gender-specific language after The Daily Telegraph revealed Australian ­Defence Force personnel are being told to stop using terms that could offend the LGBTI community.

“It’s language madness,” Mr Howard said at a function at Campion College in Toongabbie yesterday.

“It is absolutely defies common sense to overturn millennia of language usage to describe men and women in the name of helping a ­minority.

Former prime minister John Howard. Picture: AAP

“Nobody wants to persecute a minority. But you don’t protect a minority by rubbishing a majority.”

Mr Howard called on Australia’s leaders to push back hard on political correctness.

“It should be dismissed by people in authority. I think more people should simply denounce it for the madness that it is,” he said.

The Telegraph this week revealed the Australian Defence Force Academy was distributing a language guide to officers in training advising them to use “gender neutral” language instead of terms like “him” and “her” to avoid having a negative effect on LGBTI members.

Mr Howard said Campion College, Australia’s first liberal college, existed at “a very challenging time for the goals and values for which it was formed”.

“Western civilisation, the reach of the Judeo Christian ethic on our society, is under challenge in a way that has rarely been matched in the past,” Mr Howard said.

“Virtually every day we are subjected to language madness, with attempts to alter the centuries old expressions and descriptions of our fellow men and women in our society. It is much worse now because it is more widespread.”

He said the gifts of Christianity and the “great Judeo Christian ethic are under challenge on a constant basis”.

Mr Howard also revealed discussions were being held between Campion College and the backers of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation that he chairs

The centre is looking for a home within a university and was controversially rejected by the Australian National University after academic unions lobbied against it.

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