At the University of Florida, a student was recently penalized for writing “man” instead of “humankind” in a class paper.
History major Martin Poirier wrote “Water is a thing prior to man” on a paper for a history class called “History of Water.”
“Thoughtful paper, although the writing-mechanics errors are killing you,” Professor Jack Davis wrote at the bottom of the paper. He gave the student a B minus, according to a copy of the essay published in the student news outlet the Daily Nerv.
Davis circled “man” and referenced his Writing Mechanics Exercise #20, which draws a distinction between “mankind” and “humankind.”
Davis defended the penalization in an email to The College Fix. He explained that the “exercise and inclusion of ‘humankind’ are consistent with the Chicago Manual of Style, the style and the usage guide followed in the discipline of history.”
Davis also said the exercise is “not to enforce political correctness” but is “both a grammar refresher and a style and user guide.”
It was also not for the use “man” alone that Poirier lost points. Rather, Davis explained to The Fix that students lose points when they don’t follow two or more standards.
“I do not lower a student’s grade for only one inconsistence, and I single out no student as an example,” Davis said.
Poirier’s paper was selected for class discussion, having been emailed to his classmates “with anonymity strictly maintained,” according to Davis. full story