Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, bulls and cows, boars and sows, and a long etcetera.
As is probably quite obvious, I am an avid listener of BBC Radio 4. When I was younger - a lot younger - I imagined that R4 was a station for crusty old colonels, probably listening in from Cheltenham or Tunbridge Wells who, when not listening to the radio, were snapping off letters to the Times or Telegraph bemoaning the inevitable decline of our nation's standards since the loss of Empire and the disappearance of its culture under a tidal wave of American products, idioms, ideas etc.
Habitual listening to R4, however, soon disabused me of the above image but now it turns out that it is I who is becoming crusty and scandalised by some of R4's content. Not a lot of content, I admit, but the following grates:
Why oh why do so many people insist on talking about males and females?
What is wrong with those completely acceptable words man and woman?
Obviously I have no complaints if we are using the words male and female as adjectives. "Female bank robber" or "male model" for example are fine, but sentences such as "two males were seen running away from the scene" or "if you are a female, then..." are, in my opinion, plain ridiculous.
Man and woman can only be used to refer to humans. Have you ever heard of a "man toad", for instance? Or a "woman fish"? No. Obviously not. Animals are male or female. People are men and women. Is this political correctness gone mad? Would we rather compare ourselves to animals, fish or plants than to other members of our own species?
Please in your own writings and speech, try to avoid the use of male and female and use the proper nouns man and woman. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these two words.