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In a translation I have said "I feel the vigour of man", and a bit later I have to refer to the creator of "man", but I am unsure whether I should say

his creator

or

its creator

I take the term translated man to have the general sense "humankind" in this passage. For humankind I guess I'd use its, but I am less sure with man.

  • The usual practice is to use masculine pronouns in reference to generic man. – Anonym Aug 12 '14 at 14:03
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    It's a complete no-no to use it as a pronoun standing for man, regardless of whether you mean male human being or mankind in general. But the question itself (is "man" usually considered gender-neutral or not?) is an Off Topic subjective issue. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 12 '14 at 14:03
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    You would not say "the vigor of man" and later "its creator", because the former personalizes and latter depersonalizes. You've got a couple of (non-awkward) choices: "the vigor of mankind" followed by "its creator", or "the vigor of man" followed by "his creator". If you're concerned with gender neutrality or political correctness (depending on your point of view), you might be best served by avoiding the whole area, and use "humankind", or "humanity". – Dan Bron Aug 12 '14 at 14:05
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    @Esoteric: I do sometimes flag ELU questions requesting migration, but I'm pretty certain I didn't do that here, regardless of what that "history" implies. I'd have closevoted for the same reason (subjective) on either site, unless I was simply endorsing someone else's closevote citing "translation/writing advice" as the reason. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 12 '14 at 15:35
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    @FumbleFingers Well I think my problem was also that I thought the two questions were actually one :P – guillefix Aug 13 '14 at 16:38
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Commenters concur:

The usual practice is to use masculine pronouns in reference to generic man. –Anonym

It's a complete no-no to use it as a pronoun standing for man, regardless of whether you mean "male human being" or "mankind in general". —FumbleFingers

You would not say "the vigor of man" and later "its creator", because the former personalizes and latter depersonalizes. You've got a couple of (non-awkward) choices: "the vigor of mankind" followed by "its creator", or "the vigor of man" followed by "his creator". If you're concerned with gender neutrality or political correctness (depending on your point of view), you might be best served by avoiding the whole area, and use "humankind", or "humanity". –Dan Bron

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