In the proverb "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink", why is the horse a male? Is there an origin/backstory, similarly to how boats are considered female?
Also, I think "...make him drink..." is the original, rather than "...make it drink...". Does anyone know if this, or the opposite, is correct?
Edit: I found from my research that Old English Homilies, written in 1175, might have been where the proverb came from (the exact reference was "Hwa is thet mei thet hors wettrien the him self nule drinken"). However, this doesn't seem to explain why the horse is referred to as "him" in the proverb.