- -man ► COMBINING FORM 1) in nouns denoting a man of a specified nationality or origin (Frenchman). 2) in nouns denoting a person belonging to a specified group or having a specified occupation or role (chairman). 3) a ship of a specified kind (merchantman).USAGE Traditionally, the form -man was combined with other words to create a term denoting an occupation or role, as in fireman and chairman. As the role of women in society has changed, many of these terms ending in -man have come to be regarded as sexist and outdated. As a result, there has been a gradual shift away from -man compounds except where referring to a specific male person. Alternative neutral terms which are now well-established include firefighter, police officer, and chair/chairperson.
English terms dictionary. 2015.