He also had the misfortune to be a mediocre poet - a crime which, although it is committed around us every day, historians and critics cannot forgive.
In Old English, human men were referred to as wer, while the term man was used to describe humanity as a whole. During the thirteenth century, man gradually replaced wer as the term for an adult human male while also maintaining its use as an expression for the entire human species.
^ Etymologically speaking, talking about people collectively as man really has no sexist connotations. At the same time, however, you’ve got to remember that it’s developed some sexist undertones that have nothing to do with its etymology. Think about, for example, the Canadian franchise debate, when many legislators resisted allowing women to vote by asserting that the constitution said that ‘every man’, not ‘every person’, had the right to vote.
I’m not saying that using ‘man’ synonymously with ‘humanity’ is sexist or not. I haven’t taken the time to form an opinion on the issue, to be honest, as I think that it’s not the most pressing of issues. I just think that it’s important to remember that one can legitimately argue either way.
By Hunter Oatman-Stanford
If you were committed to a psychiatric institution, unsure if you’d ever return to the life you knew before, what would you take with you? That sobering question hovers like an apparition over each of the Willard Asylum suitcases. From the 1910s through the 1960s, many patients at the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane left suitcases behind when they passed away, with nobody to claim them. Upon the center’s closure in 1995, employees found hundreds of these time capsules stored in a locked attic. Working with the New York State Museum, former Willard staffers were able to preserve the hidden cache of luggage as part of the museum’s permanent collection.