|Posted by Cobaltsoul on October 4, 2010 at 5:35 PM|
There was a time when we paid no attention to the way we used language to include and exclude people. In some places language is still used that way.
In the West, many people sneer at the idea of being "pc". Such people are likely too stupid to understand the power of language and why it's important, if they are stupid they are probably also too stupid to recognise that in resisting egalitarian language they are helping to maintain the barriers that keep them as one of the weakened, excluded, marginalised. If they are not stupid then their reason for sneering at pc language is likely because they have a vested interest in keeping others weak. Consciously or unconsciously they recognise their own power and position needs the warping of language to help maintain it.
Here is one example that is really pissing me off.
It's Humanity, not Mankind.
There is no reason at all to use the outdated term "mankind" when referring to the whole human race. There is a legitimate linguistic reason why "man" was used in English to refer to the whole human race. Several hundred years ago it did mean the whole race and there were two other terms specifiying 'man' and 'woman'. Language changes, what was fair is no longer justifiable. In modern English 'man' is equivalent to 'male' and there is an inevitable connotation, when we say 'mankind' of meaning 'males'.
Any time someone says something like "Only Jill Average can save mankind" they can just as easily, and far more accurately say, "Only Jill Average can save humanity."
"Mankind is putting the whole planet at risk" (Hmmm, given the preponderance of males in leadership of business and government the world over, this statement is gender accurate on the face of it.) can just as easily be written, "Humanity is putting the whole planet at risk."
The simplest way to explain why 'mankind' is a bad term to go on using is this: the term mankind now implies that male is the basic pattern for being a person. Nonsense. As long as there have been humans we have been female and male together. The basic pattern for being a person is just that, being a person. The term humanity embraces us all without connotations, unconscious defects or meaning ambiguities.
Humanity means the whole human race.
We are no longer mankind. We are humanity.
Take a look, see how often the term 'mankind' is used when it can't be replaced simply with Humanity.
Humanity always fits.