The simplest and by far the most famous example of this recent change is, of course:
In "old" Star Trek
"To boldly go where no man has gone before"
and in new Star Trek
"To boldly go where no one has gone before"
This is a fascinating question.
For anyone born before, oh, 1980 the answer to the title question
Was “man” a gender-neutral word in ...
The 1662 A Brief and Easie Explanation of the Shorter Catechism says:
Q.[...] Did God create man both Male, and Female, after his own Image?
A. God created Man, Male and Female, after his own Image ...
The 1674 The Body of Divinity, Or, a Confession of Faith says:
God made man in his own image, male and female he created them. He created Man ...
There have been many historical uses of man to mean all people well into the 20th century as well. In 1942, Disney released Bambi which has this line
BAMBI: What happened mother? Why did we all run?
BAMBI'S MOTHER: Man was in the forest
Time Magazine had a long running tradition of naming a Man of the Year (Person of the Year since 1999). While ...
I'm old enough to remember when "man" or the combining for "-man" was just common usage. "All men are created equal" was just taken for granted as meaning "All persons were created equal." Words like spokesman, craftsman, chairman, etc. were easy to use and didn't raise any gender questions.
Of course "man" could also be used in a strictly male sense. "Be ...
Man in Old English could be either gendered or non-gendered. We inherited that ambiguity.
In Old English, man referred to both an adult male and a human being of either sex. Here is Stephen A. Barney in Word-Hoard: An Introduction to Old English Vocabulary, entry 8:
Mann serves for both "adult male" and "human being (of either sex)," in English; the ...
Yes. From the Oxford English Dictionary (subscription required):
Man was considered until the 20th cent. to include women by implication, though referring primarily to males. It is now frequently understood to exclude women, and is therefore avoided by many people.
and then, before beginning its selection of quotations, remarks
In some of the ...
Posting an answer in 2020 since the question — and accepted answer — date back to 2011 and I believe some things might have changed between now and then.
While “gals” is technically be the feminine version of “guys”, I would recommend avoiding it if at all possible.
This is especially true in business and professional settings where people are not ...