If youre but a creature of your times, youre accustomed to saying humankind instead of mankind, firefighter instead of fireman, letter carrier instead of mailman, businessperson instead of businessman, etc. We believe our readers are immune from cultural conditioning and linguistic engineering, so were not talking about you. But pity the zombies, for theres a lot more Newspeak for them to assimilate.
But before getting to that, something needs to be said about the avoidance of man in a compound word. The erudite Jacques Barzun, in his book Dawn to Decadence, explained succinctly why man is correct usage: In the compounds that have been regarded as invidious spokesman, chairman, and the like man retains that original sense of human being, as is proved by the word woman . Or as the whimsical Sheldon Vanauken versified in the September 1978 NEW OXFORD REVIEW:
Her unisex temper would worsen
If as chairman she wasnt chairperson:
She required that we ban
Those damned suffixes, man
So now shes become a woperson.
But most people dont understand how the English language works, and so are easy targets for the mind-controllers.
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