I do not yet know the sex, but I refer to my unborn baby using the male pronoun anyway. This sometimes confuses people… I guess it is time to explain why I do not employ politically-correct gender-inclusive language… (first of all, I can’t call the baby “it”—I’m not carrying a wad of playdoh, I’m carrying a human life.)
I grew up in the twentieth century, just like you (or most of you)—I learned full well what is supposed to be “proper” when addressing both sexes. And I am, after all, a woman; I suppose I should therefore be particularly offended when someone says man or mankind instead of humankind. or he instead of the cumbersome he or she or the grammatically awkward they. But I’m not at all offended, and here’s why.
I think something valuable is lost with gender-inclusive language…
I must give credit to Dr. Wayne Grudem who greatly influenced my opinions on this subject in his book, Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth. Dr. Grudem reminds us that Adam was created first. God gave Adam a direct command to not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen 2:17). This is before Eve even existed. (112)
God created Eve from one of Adam’s ribs. Adam gave his suitable helper a title and called her “woman” because she came out of man (Gen 2:23). And He also named her (Gen 3:20). In calling her woman and naming her Eve, Adam exercised authority over her his wife. Eve did not name Adam, God did. And Adam, as the head of his wife, named Eve. This is all before the fall, before sin perverted everything.
God appointed Adam as the head. Adam (not Eve) is our covenant representative in the garden. Both Adam and Eve sinned against God, but ALL of mankind fell with Adam’s sin.
I find it interesting, that the curse God gives to Eve is one that cannot be immediately directed on man (although to a limited extent men do, in patient support, persevere with their wives). But the curse given to Adam, is one which women also commonly suffer. This used to bother me. But it makes sense when you remember that Adam is the representative for all mankind. Eve cannot represent all of mankind, neither does her curse directly effect all of mankind. Both man and woman have responsibility in the Fall, but on account of Adam’s sin we ALL are cursed. We ALL are spiritually dead.
Grudem points to the parallels in Scripture which teach that we are likewise saved by one man, Jesus Christ, who was our representative on the cross. On account of Christ’s righteousness, we (men and women alike) are made blameless in the sight of the Lord. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 5:19, (112)
For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. (esv, italics mine)
In my mind, the use of gender-inclusive language really dilutes the significance of our representation in Adam and in Christ. And that’s too bad.
The male pronoun can and does properly cover both sexes whereas the female pronoun cannot. Society at large today may strongly disagree. I know I am a very small minority on this, even among Christians and especially among women. I probably just put my bare neck on the slaughtering block. That’s okay…I’m not really interested in pursuing popular ideals, I’m more interested in pursuing Truth.