If not used when misgendering, making unasked for assumptions about gender or in a hostile context, can usage of the words female/male be insulting?
More specifically: can a non-native speaker be accidentally insulting by using female/male describing human genders, for example in a internet discussion.
Background: In my native language Swedish, the term used for animals' genders differs from the one most commonly used to describe human gender. If you would use the words for animal gender for a human it would either sound a bit weird/unusual/humorous or insulting/demeaning depending on context. I used Google Translate for:
- Swedish (the terms used for animals)->
- English (got female/male)->
- Swedish (got the terms used for humans).
I could interpret this as English lacks the distinction but human-specific gender-words exist in English as well: woman/man. A quick websearch show me a lot of usage of female/male for humans so clearly it can be used without being odd/insulting. In order to avoid being accidentally insulting in the future: are there times when I should not use female/male for humans?
Edit: Found an example of someone (seemingly) offended by "female" in the comments to this question (Look for user33333) Word a male can use to refer to a female that is not old or young (girl/lady/woman)