That is also true.
One of the Portuguese features is using articles in general plural sentences, so this sentence can have both meanings:
- Ele conhece as mulheres = He knows (the) women
Depending on each case, it's more or less natural to use the article. In this case, it's very natural to use the article.
This causes a slight difference in meaning:
- Ele conhece as mulheres (1) = He knows the women
- Ele conhece as mulheres (2) = He knows women (He understands women)
- Ele conhece mulheres = He knows / is acquainted with (some/many/a certain amount of) women
Your answer is not wrong, but:
Mainly, "conhecer" means "to be familiar with" something. It's the best verb for knowing people in the long term:
- I have known him for a long time = Eu o conheço há muito tempo
In the case of the first meeting, when you get to know someone, you can use "conhecer". The main idea is still knowing: you change from not knowing to knowing, or you "get to know". That is the only case it can mean "to meet someone".
Firstly, I don't understand why, "He knows the women." is wrong here. "as" means "the" does it not?
Also, in English, is this sentence better understood as:
- He knows women. (He knows people, some of them are women.)
- He knows women. (He is wise, and knows the ways of women.)
Would there be a "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" aspect to this sentence if used in conversation? With innuendo?
- He knows women. (He is a womanizer. He has sex with lots of women.)
Number 1 - He knows (many) women - Ele conhece mulheres.
Number 2 - He (is wise and) knows (the ways of) women - Ele conhece as mulheres
I can't explain why is that, but it is.
If the women are known women, then "as" would work similar to "those", "ele conhece as (those) women" (it identifies a specific group of women)
Why? Because Number 1 is undertermined (He knows SOME women, maybe a few, maybe many, many all of them, we don't know) and that is translated without an article in Portuguese, just as in English. But, English gets different when it's about a subject IN GENERAL: he knows women, as Number 2 suggests, has the same meaning as "Babies are cute", "Swimming pools are filthy" or "Latin languages are sexy": in all those cases, you should use the determined article ("as", "os",...) in Portuguese, whereas English consider them grammatically undetermined since they're general concepts. That's all. This being said, Duolingo should accept "He knows THE women" as a possible solution, since there is no context here (it could be "the women there", "the women we were just talking about", etc.)
Very interesting, thanks for the explanation. I'll try to summarize your point my own words:
In English, "knows women" could either mean (a) "knows [some undefined quantity of women]" or (b) "knows [about the category of women]" in the same way that someone "knows computers."
In Portuguese, "knows women" only means (a) "knows [some undefined quantity of women]." For the (b) sense, where you are using "women" to mean the generic category, you'd need the article "as/os".
Is that correct?
I think the difference lies in whether you consider women, in this sentence, as a collective noun or not. If women, here, is a collective noun, and therefore means all women, no article is necessary. If women is not a collective noun in this case, and therefore means some undefined number of women, an article, or a number, is required.