I had some doubt about the usage of Human beings, Mankind, people, Humans, Humankind & Human being. I noticed that there are some questions about those words in 'ELL' community, but none of them brings all words on to the same page.

I went through a lot of articles and made the following short note for my self. I believe that I have manipulated above-mentioned words correctly. Please advise me if I have made any mistakes.

Human beings(/ Mankind/ People/ Humans) have always believed in god.

Humankind/ (Human being) has always believed in god.

  • Your use of capital letters in those samples is incorrect. The only proper nouns in them is 'God' in both sentences. Note the difference between saying "This was an act of God" and "This was an act of a god". In the first 'God' needs a capital as it is being used as a name. In the second it is not capitalised because it is only a noun describing the nature of something. – Ross Murray Dec 6 '18 at 4:27
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    I think "Human" can be a proper noun in certain science fictional or fantasy settings, where there's multiple alien races running around, just like "American" is a proper noun today. Also, Humankind and Mankind are both collective nouns; you use the singular when referring to them, so it's "Mankind/Humankind has always believed in God". – nick012000 Dec 6 '18 at 5:20
  • Okay, Nick, I grant you the possible use in sci-fi, etc. However, I don't think the uniqueness (Pray to God!) of mankind changes the nature of the word from a description of what is meant to a name. The proper or common noun divide is not always clear. It can depend on what the author wants to show. 'Mankind' looks like such an example to me. While I would almost always use it as a common noun, I can imagine there would be some contexts in which I thought treating it as a propoer noun was better. I just checked M-W. It lists 'mankind' not 'Mankind'. – Ross Murray Dec 6 '18 at 9:06

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