(Edit - This seems to be a polarising question, with equal votes both up and down (currently 16-16). I am beginning to suspect that in the US this may seem a sarcastic question, since 'folks' is in more common usage there. However, the question was asked in good faith.)
I have noticed that many senior members of the community (both volunteer and employee) use the word 'folks' where I, personally, would naturally use the word 'people' or use a more passive voice.
Many folks seem confused right now
--> Many people seem confused right now
--> There seems to be a lot of confusion right now
I understand that it helps guard against using less inclusive language ("You guys..." would be an obvious example) but in many cases it feels a bit forced, so I was wondering if this has been mandated or whether it is just a convention that has evolved over time.
If it was a conscious decision, what was the thinking behind it? Could I accidentally disenfranchise or potentially even hurt someone by using 'people' or the passive? Is it documented anywhere?
Furthermore how was this change effected? Was it achieved with less friction than the currently proposed changes in the CoC?