The "movement" is, ironically, conservative, since the choice to use the
"generic" was itself a "movement"--the codification of grammar. There
was nothing, however, grammatical in this case: it was a political
choice to assert the (nonexistent) greater "inclusiveness" of the male.
Using it is thus a political choice for gendered reasons, and they are
not reasons that aim at any principle of decency and morality.
So the question is, "whose actual usage?"
>>> [log in to unmask] 04/08/06 11:28 PM >>>
--On Saturday, April 08, 2006 2:36 PM -0500 Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>
> No you may not because it is no longer the generic term. In (morally
> politically decent) English of the present "man" refers only to the
> gender. Its use as a generic term is anachronistic and vulgar.
Just observing actual usage, this seems not to be true, though there is
certainly a movement afoot to make it so, as your finger wagging
exemplifies. However, I think such usages are more deeply rooted and
resonant than political criticisms such as yours credit them for, which
why they continue, even among decent and moral people.