I've been listening to ANY QUESTIONS on my drive to Upton Park. Lynne Featherstone said something quite profound. On the question of gay adoption she urged people not to think about the generality of the issue but to concentrate on individual gay people you know and think about whether they would, as individuals, make good parents.
You can draw other parallels here. As a country, British people tend to dislike the French, yet individually we find them charming.
People think that politicians as a group are liars and untrustworthy, yet I've lost count of the times I have heard people say that their own MP is fantastic.
West Ham fans are reputedly all skinhead thugs, yet individually people rather like us (or have I just defeated my own argument?!).
So perhaps we should be more mindful of individuals when talking and writing about large groups of people. I am sure I am just as guilty as anyone in making sweeping generalisations, so do feel free to take me to task when I commit the sin in future.