The pronoun 'he' used generically, as well as a lot of words including "man-kind" or generic "man" are sex-biased and are not acceptable. However, not so long ago, they were the proper used terms for describing the general. For example, "Man must adjust to his environment." or "He that loves must forgive." etc. Was this always the case or did there use to be a difference in terms between male and female?
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closed as not constructive by FumbleFingers, nohat♦ May 21 '11 at 0:15
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I'll paste you two passages about usage of "mankind" and "man" from my NOAD. It seems you were right, usage has changed for "politically correct" reasons:
The generic pronoun he wasn't always generic. It was actually the result of skilled political lobbying in the nineteenth century. In 1850, the British Parliament passed the Interpretation Act 1850, also called Lord Brougham's Act, which made the pronoun he universal to include both male and female. The reasoning behind this was apparently due to the usage of the word man.
Man has always meant humans in general, ever since it evolved from the German word mannaz.
He hasn't always been generic. Man has.
However, in view of the women in this world, we must not leave them out. This has come under scrutiny in the late 20th century, and now women are being included in everything, hence the inappropriateness of using he as a generic term. Instead of he, they is used instead to avoid sexist language.
Also, the Interpretation Act 1850 has been superseded by the Interpretation Act 1978 out of deference for women.