If the word “man” already refers to both male and female humans, why do many authors use “man or woman”?

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If the word “man” already refers to both male and female humans, why do many authors use “man or woman”?

In: Culture

Because your assumption that “‘man’ already refers to both male and female humans” is incorrect.

The primary definition of “man” is an adult male human. The fact that “man” or “mankind” has historically *also* been used to refer to both male and female humankind is representative of the lack of importance that male-led societies have traditionally placed on females and their role within those societies.

So as to not perpetuate that misogynistic use of the word, someone who cares about such things will use the term “man and woman” or “humanity” or “humankind” to be inclusive, rather than glossing over and excluding 50% of the species.

It doesn’t unless it’s a compound word or obviously globally inclusive. “That woman’s poetry speaks for all mankind”. “The nature of man is corrupt”. Those are not ambiguous. “That man used to be a man”, doesn’t make any sense.

While I agree that there are better ways to refer to “humankind” these days, “man” had the same meaning historically.

Society and it’s language has basically evolved and progressed to using terminology that is better and more appropriate.

I am unsure if the same issue exists in many other languages and cultures but I am now kind of curious if it is?