Re: Proofreading of a part of a document about "gender neutrality"
> Interestingly enough, "humanity" has "man" in it too, but like
> "mankind", its origins have nothing to do with gender.
FWIW, perception is not based on etymology.
"chairman" is treated as gender-specific because it is easily read as
"chair" + "man", i.e., the man leading the organisation. Whether it
actually comes from the latin "manus" is irrelevant here -- those who
(at a conscious or subconscious level) picture what the word means are
not thinking back to its latin roots. They're decomposing it in the
same way that we decompose words all the time into smaller components.
"mankind" has a similar problem, since it can be easily perceived as
"man" + "kind" (whether this be at a conscious or subconscious level).
"human" (or "humanity") has no such problem, since the breakdown
"hu" + "man" makes no sense whatsoever in the context of modern English.
Because of this the brain does not decompose it in the same way it
decomposes "chairman" or "mankind", but instead treats "human" as a single