3 months ago
Last edited at 4:48AM on 12/13/2013
I agree with PassageOne...even though 'human' and 'man' sound like they should share the same origin, they do not.
HUMAN originates with the Latin humanus, related to homo as in Homo sapiens...while 'man' derives from the Sanskrit 'manu.'
Manu was the name of the first man in Hindu mythology, somewhat parallel to the Western Adam of Adam and Eve fame.
Although I cannot locate it online now, I also seem to recall that MANU itself originated from our amazing ability to use our hands for such intricate chores, giving rise to forms like "manual dexterity," and so forth.
Anyway, in the process of making its way from Sanskrit India to present-day English, MAN passed through the German form Mann, where the plural was menn - and voila, that plural form stuck!
It's an interesting thought, Deeply. I guess that would make "hymen" a plural word, but what then would be the singular? . However, for the most appropriate answer I refer you to VirginiaLH's fine response.
Some years ago there was a complaint to a Sydney newspaper about the use of "female" because it contained "male". The writer suggested using "feperson". A couple of days later another writer suggested that "feperson" was also sexist because it contained "son" and preferred "feperoffspring".