First let me give a few sentences of generic reference : 1) A man needs friends. 2) Men need friends.
In 1) & 2) it refers to all men (men in general) or simply put 'man' is used as a generic noun here. My question is in this example is 'friends' also a generic noun here (friends in general)
Another part of question, can we use a sentence like this having the same meaning as above : 'A man needs a friend'.