The word gentleman originally meant something recognizable; one who had a coat of arms and some landed property. When you called someone "a gentleman" you were not paying him a compliment, but merely stating a fact. If you said he was not "a gentleman" you were not insulting him, but giving information. There was no contradiction in saying that John was a liar and a gentleman; any more than there is in saying that James is a fool and an M.A. But then came people who said--so rightly, charitably, spiritually, sensitively, so anything but usefully--"Ah, but surely the important thing about a gentleman is not the coat of arms and the land, but the behavior? Surely he is the true gentleman who behaves as a gentleman should? Surely in that sense Edward is far more truly a gentleman than John?" They meant well. To be honourable and courteous and brave is of course a far better thing than to have a coat of arms. But it is not the same thing. Worse still, it is not a thing everyone will agree about. To call a man "a gentleman" in this new, refined sense, becomes, in fact, not a way of giving information about him, but a way of praising him: to deny that he is a "gentleman" becomes simply a way of insulting him. When a word ceases to be a term of description and becomes merely a term of praise, it no longer tells you facts about the object: it only tells you about the speaker's attitude to that object. (A "nice" meal only means a meal the speaker likes.) A gentleman, once it has been spiritualized and refined out of its old coarse, objective sense, means hardly more than a man whom the speaker likes. As a result, gentleman is now a useless word. We had lots of terms of approval already, so it was not needed for that use; on the other hand if anyone (say, in a historical work) wants to use it in its old sense, he cannot do so without explanations. It has been spoiled for that purpose. [C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Macmillan, 1973), pp. 10-11] [emphasis mine]Yes, C. S. Lewis said that. It's not much of a leap to take a page from the good professor and level a similar charge against realmannspracht (that term I have coined for any talk or discussion about "real men" and the such like). I submit that the words "man," "manhood," etc. have suffered pretty much the same fate as the word "gentleman." These terms are often employed in an imprecise, highly subjective manner. They have become essentially meaningless. While the term "woman" remains sacrosanct in what it conveys to the modern ear, the term "man" has been reduced to a fashion statement, covering everything from Axe body spray to Browning Buckmark decals on pickup trucks. Bastardization of our language is the price we pay to further the stupidity of gynocentrism and misandry.
Let me close by saying this: People are in the habit of asking, "What makes a man?" That's the wrong question to ask. The better question is, "Who makes a man?" The answer to that question has already been determined. God makes a man, and we have no choice but to accept the fact of the matter (Gen. 1:27; Gen. 2:7; 1 Cor. 11:12). In sum, realmannspracht is not only anti-male, it's linguistic rubbish.