High-spectral-resolution lidars (HSRLs) are increasingly being developed for atmospheric aerosol remote sensing applications due to the straightforward and independent retrieval of aerosol optical properties without reliance on assumptions about lidar ratio. In HSRL technique, spectral discrimination between scattering from molecules and aerosol particles is one of the most critical processes, which needs to be accomplished by means of a narrowband spectroscopic filter. To ensure a high retrieval accuracy of an HSRL system, the high-quality design of its spectral discrimination filter should be made. This paper reviews the available algorithms that were proposed for HSRLs and makes a general accuracy analysis of the HSRL technique focused on the spectral discrimination, in order to provide heuristic guidelines for the reasonable design of the spectral discrimination filter. We introduce a theoretical model for retrieval error evaluation of an HSRL instrument with general three-channel configuration. Monte Carlo (MC) simulations are performed to validate the correctness of the theoretical model. Results from both the model and MC simulations agree very well, and they illustrate one important, although not well realized fact: a large molecular transmittance and a large spectral discrimination ratio (SDR, i.e., ratio of the molecular transmittance to the aerosol transmittance) are beneficial t o promote the retrieval accuracy. The application of the conclusions obtained in this paper in the designing of a new type of spectroscopic filter, that is, the field-widened Michelson interferometer, is illustrated in detail. These works are with certain universality and expected to be useful guidelines for HSRL community, especially when choosing or designing the spectral discrimination filter.