I have no problem with use of "man" in your original sentence. If other people find it problematic they can use alternatives.
Student or Learner
The word "man" can be used to refer to all humans. On the other hand, some say, like my Collins Cobuild dictionary, they dislike this usage. Nevertheless, I sometimes see such a sentence as "Man started using tools several miilion years ago" even in books for second language learners.
Do you think we English learners should avoid using "man" this way? Could this be regarded as a remark of a sexist?
If so, maybe I should use other phases such as "our species", "human beings", "human races", or "mankind".
Agreed, don't fall prey to the political correctness agenda. It's a never-ending downward spiral.
Being politically correct is NOT the same thing as grammatical, despite what some would have you believe.
***** NOT A TEACHER *****
Hello, Optimistic Pessimist:
I think that it would be a good idea for everyone (native speakers and learners) to avoid using the generic "man" whenever possible.
In this global economy, one must be very careful not to offend anyone.
You never know who is listening to you or reading your comments. It could be someone who has the power to make you or break you in this global economy.
Why take a chance? Some people are easily offended.
I personally would just say that "Humans started using ...."
People are just looking for an excuse to be offended about something nowadays. These are some examples of how far it's going.
This one, scroll down towards bottom for an unbelievable list of "substitute' pronouns.
Don't want to risk offending illegal immigrants, either. Oops, I mean "undocumented immigrants".
I could rant for days, but the point is that if you go trying to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody. If you can't win your argument, all you have to do is accuse the other person of being politically incorrect, sexist, racist, anti-earth, anti-human, anti-animal, anti-whatever, and then they've busy defending that claim instead of discussing the real issue at hand.
Have the guts to say what you mean, and stand for what you believe in. Don't get sidetracked by trying to be PC.
Well, for animals I guess you can always deal with PETA then. They have their own brand of crap.
To which I respond, "Why yes, I do support PETA."
Buddy of mine actually has this on a cap.
Last edited by Skrej; 06-Jul-2015 at 15:52.