Surprisingly, this word returns very few "meaningful" results on Google (like texts, blog posts, articles, etc) using it. It seems to be a new word. Yet, the OED gives no hits.

Is this an appropriate non-gendered alternative to man-made? For instance,

Poverty is a human-made phenomenon.

Since it still contains the word "man", some might say it is not. Yet, to my understanding, human has a much broad meaning than just a male person.

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    man-made is wrong here anyway. Man-made is really for things, not states of affairs. Poverty is a phenomenon for which humans are responsible or created by humans. – Lambie Jul 26 '17 at 15:58
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    For climate change "anthropogenic" is used. – Martin Smith Jul 26 '17 at 18:24
  • I'm with @Lambie ... that this isn't a good place for "man-made" in it's generally understood meaning, let alone the gender issues. "man-made" pretty much means "manufactured" (and I don't think that needs to be turned into "humanufactured"). For your sentence I might choice "society" or "societal", or "socially created" phenomenon . These sorts of word choices are a matter of opinion to some degree, but at least those are my suggestions. – Tom22 Jul 26 '17 at 23:11

I agree with Chris H but artificial is a gender-neutral way of saying man made, equating to engineered - while man-made itself is meant to be gender-neutral.

Can we drop questions of man-made, human-made or the sense of mankind, not male person?

Man once meant person and now does mean male person but why is that a reason to invent new terms? Why not resurrect the old meaning, rather as with Miss, Mrs, Ms?

Can we recognise wife isn’t opposed to husband; each is a contraction, one of wifman, one of husbandman?

Husbandman meant person who looks after (stuff) while wifman meant person who weaves.

See that person? How is that difficult?


This is really a matter of opinion. I'll give mine with some reasoning

I try to be careful with gender assumptions in writing, but would still use man-made if a synonym such as artifical didn't work (as it doesn't here). This means I consider man in man-made to have the sense of mankind (the human race) not male person.

Human-made would not present any difficulties in understanding, however dropping a neologism into the middle of a text does disrupt the flow of readin (in my opinion). You could use it if you wanted to make a real commitment to gender neutrality (though there are a very few people whi wouldn't human as it contains --man; you'd probably end up with people-made before you could please them).

But then maybe man is correct in this case (poverty); look at the gender distribution of power and wealth now and historically.


There is no gender neutral alternative to man-made, especially not human-made. I base this solely on George Orwell's Politics and the English Language which has 6 advanced ninja-level rules for writing really well. The 6th rule is: Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Human-made is barbarous.

protected by tchrist Jul 29 '17 at 20:47

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