which would make the ground sense of man "one who has intelligence," but not all linguists accept this. Plural men (Ger. Männer) shows effects of i-mutation.
Sense of "adult male" is late (c.1000); O.E. used wer and wif to distinguish the sexes, but wer began to disappear late 13c. and was replaced by man. Universal sense of the word remains in mankind
. Similarly, L. had homo "human being" and vir "adult male human being," but they merged in V.L., with homo extended to both senses. A like evolution took place in Slavic languages, and in some of them the word has narrowed to mean "husband." PIE had two stems: *uiHro "freeman" (cf. Skt. vira-, Lith. vyras, L. vir, O.Ir. fer, Goth. wair) and *hner "man," a title more of honor than *uiHro (cf. Skt. nar-, Armenian ayr, Welsh ner, Gk. aner). The chess pieces so called from c.1400. As an interjection of surprise or emphasis, first recorded c.1400, but especially popular from early 20c. Man-about-town is from 1734; the Man "the boss" is from 1918. Men's Liberation first attested 1970.
"At the kinges court, my brother, Ech man for himself." [Chaucer, "Knight's Tale," c.1386]
early 12c., "to furnish (a fort, ship, etc.) with a company of men," from man
(n.). Meaning "to take up a designated position on a ship" is first recorded 1690s. Related: Manned.