language equity

Linnea Ista lkista at UNM.EDU
Tue Nov 26 11:57:27 EST 1996

On Tue, 26 Nov 1996, Karen Allendoerfer wrote:

> In article <ebrown-2311962242340001 at>,
> ebrown at (Ellie Brown) wrote:
> > Last week I attended a joint meeting of AWIS (Association for Women in
> > Science) and SWE (Society for Women Engineers) where the discussion topic
> > was Gender Equity in the Classroom.  One thread involved the perceived
> > meaning of words such as "mankind" or the generic pronoun "he".  The women
> > in this group were generally between 30 and 60 years old, and almost all
> > said that they had always felt included by these terms. 
> Really?  I never felt included by these terms.
> Karen
Thank goodness there is someone else.  I was beginning to think I was 
weird. The funniest use of "man" or "mankind" to me 
was  in a graduate seminar when someone was talking about how human 
papilloma virus is a causitive agent of cervical cancer *in man*. 

Something else I have noticed. "Man" and "Mankind" tend to be used when 
the speaker is trying to emphasize the acheivements and granduer of 
humanity. I think this may harken back to Aristotilian thought where 
"man"-- literally the male of our species-- was considered to be the 
highest  good. Woman was about three steps down in the pecking order. I 
can look it up again if anyone cares.


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