Howse helpfully quotes the Oxford English Dictionary:
The dictionary now adds an explanatory note. "Man was considered until the 20th century to include women by implication," it says. "It is now frequently understood to exclude women, and is therefore avoided by many people."You might think that would be the end of it, but Howse's argument is really a traditionalist one - that because people used man in a particular way in the past, we have to keep doing so:
If we remake our language, literature risks being misunderstood. So when Hamlet exclaims: "What a piece of work is a man!" Shakespeare is made to sound like a sexist instead of a Renaissance humanist.