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This framework first appeared in a feminist paper on transsexualism in 1978. They derive ultimately from a widely attested Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root g It appears in Modern French in the word genre (type, kind, also genre sexuel) and is related to the Greek root gen- (to produce), appearing in gene, genesis, and oxygen.
The modern English word gender comes from the Middle English gender (also gendere, gendir gendyr, gendre), a loanword from Anglo-Norman and Middle French gendre. The first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED1, Volume 4, 1900) notes the original meaning of gender as "kind" had already become obsolete.
Before his work, it was uncommon to use the word gender to refer to anything but grammatical categories.
However, Money's meaning of the word did not become widespread until the 1970s, when feminist theory embraced the concept of a distinction between biological sex and the social construct of gender.
According to Aristotle, this concept was introduced by the Greek philosopher Protagoras. To talk of persons..the masculine or feminine g[ender], meaning of the male or female sex, is either a jocularity (permissible or not according to context) or a blunder." and was popularized and developed by the feminist movement from the 1970s onwards (see § Feminism theory and gender studies below).
The popular use of gender simply as an alternative to sex (as a biological category) is also widespread, although attempts are still made to preserve the distinction.
The American Heritage Dictionary (2000) uses the following two sentences to illustrate the difference, noting that the distinction "is useful in principle, but it is by no means widely observed, and considerable variation in usage occurs at all levels." In the last two decades of the 20th century, the use of gender in academia has increased greatly, outnumbering uses of sex in the social sciences.
People who do not identify as a man or a woman or with masculine or feminine gender pronouns are often grouped under the umbrella terms non-binary or genderqueer.
Some cultures have specific gender roles that are distinct from "man" and "woman," such as the hijras of South Asia. Sexologist John Money introduced the terminological distinction between biological sex and gender as a role in 1955.