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Letter: Man means person

Sir: Yve Newbold (letter, 18 February) is on the wrong tack. By assigning the whole of mankind to the male half, she condemns herself to perpetual slight and feelings of inferiority. The more he-

or-she writes about him-or-her, the more women are made to appear as a separate and secondary order of beings; and the more feminists try to insist on gender- neutral language, the stronger the impression that they are ashamed of their sex.

The tendency of European languages, from ancient Greek onwards, has been to extend the masculine to become an all-purpose personal gender. That enables women, when their sex is not relevant, to be considered simply as persons and not in a special category, added as an afterthought, with the implication that they are also-rans.

Yours sincerely,


Merton College


18 February