Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceStudying Abroad · 4 weeks ago

Why would the word “man” mean “humanity?” Isn’t that exclusionary and offensive?

4 Answers

  • 3 weeks ago

    you and humanity at large should realise that

    man embraces woman

  • Lisa
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    The word "man" no longer means "humanity."  It used to, but times have changed.  Of course, if you read a book published forty or sixty or a hundred years ago, you will likely see "man" when the writer means "humanity."  However, it is old-fashioned now and no longer acceptable.  Sometimes elderly people who have not kept up with the times will make this mistake, too.  

    Language changes over time.  Some words, such as slang, changes relatively quickly.  Other words, with more basic means, such as "ma" (for mother) change very slowly.  When groups of people who originally spoke the same language get separated and lose contact, their speech starts to shift both in the words they use and in the way they pronounce them.  This is why, for instance, the English that is used in the United States and the English used in Australia is very similar but not exactly the same.  It is also how languages are created.  The romance languages, for instance, originally came from one language but, due to separation, they shifted in different ways so extensively that now speakers of one language (for instance Italian) can usually not understand speakers of another (such as Romanian).

    I highly recommend you not use the word "man" when you mean "men and women."  It is, indeed, old-fashioned and, to many people, it is insulting as well.

    Hope this helps.  

    Source(s): I am a college level English Instructor who has taught for over ten years.
  • John P
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    That has been the case in many European languages including English for a long time, centuries. We are gradually getting ourselves used to the idea that we should not refer exclusively to males.

    Think yourself fortunate to be living in a time when that change is gradually being made.

    I remember, in Plymouth, UK, in the mid 1990s, one local councillor wanted to abolish the word 'manager' from job titles, because it contained the word 'man'. An other councillor then said "I suppose you will want to rename those two suburbs called Manamead and Manadon." 

  • 4 weeks ago

    No, I'm pretty sure that everyone was called man at one point (I may be wrong tho). Language could've changed, but we just kept using man to refer to the human race.

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.