Is it really so terrible to call a woman an actress? I'm just watching the Screen Actors Guild Awards show, and maybe just the name of the outfit begs the question.
I think it would be fine to refer to the entire class of person who performed the acting function jointly as "actors" and still refer to women who acted as actresses. What's the harm? To call them "female actors" is wasteful of effort, and if language wants anything for itself it is economy of effort.
When I hear "female actor" it calls to mind a woman cross-dressing to play a male role, or something like that. That's just me being old fashioned I guess. If they need to clarify like that it all becomes so torturous. Wouldn't "actress" be even clearer? I mean, we still call women "women," and not "female men."
If this is such a big issue, doesn't it become unacceptable to make separate awards for men and women? If they're all just actors, I mean.
I don't make the rules though, so whatever the culture thinks is best is okay with me.