Why do some men refer to women as 'woman' ie they use the singular form.

I saw Peter Tatchell, the human rights campaigner, on a panel discussing stories in the Sunday papers along with two female panellists. Concerning a story about domestic violence, he referred to women in general as 'woman'. The two female panellists just used the normal plural term women. I've come across it before where men, usually gay men, refer to women in the singular form, but I'm not sure the reason for it.
Asked Nov 25, 2012
I can't speak for them but my guess is that they aren't intending for it to be singular. If a person says, "when man invented fire," they aren't referring to any specific man or even excluding women, they're using it as a short for mankind. Likewise one could say, "When woman achieved the right to vote," they're speaking of womankind, not an individual.

Just a guess.
Answered Nov 25, 2012

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