When a man says, "I love you," he is literally expressing his feelings of affection to the person with whom he is speaking. However, when a man says this phrase, he may mean something other than its literal meaning. Whether it is used in a romantic, platonic or familial sense, the phrase can be used as leverage or as a cover for the man's real sentiment.
A man may say "I love you" when he really means that he wants to be intimate with the other person. In other cases, he may say "I love you" when he has an especially favorable emotion toward the other person and cannot think of another way to express the sentiment. For instance, a man may say "I love you" when he really means, "I think you are fun to be around" or "I appreciate your sense of humor."
At times, "I love you" is used as an excuse. For instance, if the other person is angry at the man for not acting loving or for not calling, the man may say "I love you" in his defense. In this situation, "I love you" means "I'm not willing to admit what I have done wrong, but you should overlook it just because I am giving you a bit of affection, right now."