"I have to be a man, now I am a woman."
This seems to me a French conjunction that is vastly too complex for this level of learning. In all the French I've read, I've only come across "or" a few times. I would have thought there are many, many, many more useful and less difficult-to-translate conjunctions that should be learned before "or". It lends itself very poorly to literal translation (of the kind focused on at this level), with the result that the English phrases used in these exercises bear very little contextual resemblance to the French from which they've been translated. (I'm English and have been learning French very actively for about 4/5 years. I've read a few novels now and watched a lot of TV/films)
You may be right, but since we have only 7 conjunctions (coordination), it may be too bad to skip one. Reminder: mais, ou, et, donc, or, ni, car (mnemonic tip = mais où est donc Ornicar? -> but where is then Ornicar?)
I believe the English language is to be blamed, for there are so many alternatives for one single French word, isn't there?
What?!? There are loads more conjunctions surely? Puisque, quand, puis, parce que, afin, neanmoins...
Subordinating conjunctions: comme, lorsque, puisque, quand, quoique, si. Now if you also want the list of conjunctive phrases, have a look, all have an English translation! http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/conjunctions_5.htm
I maintain that either "mais" is a more appropriate translation to learn here, because "or" translates too non-literally to be useful at this level of French. (If I've understood the nuance of meaning correctly, a proper English translation is either long-winded, or needs to use such a different style of construction as to render it impossible to grasp at this level of teaching.)
I fully agree with you about the level required to catch subtleties like the one you point out.
We already discussed that issue before (you may try and browse to find previous threads). To sum it up, you could use "but" or "yet" or "however" or "though"... to translate the French "or" , which means this is a restriction or a conflict with the first statement.
It sort of can, but this usage of "Now" is very antiquated. "I have to be a man. Now, I am a woman. Does this pose a problem?" This is more-or-less the same sense as the French above, but this isn't a very common way of expressing this concept, and you almost never see it written down (people tend to use "but" or "however"). For more info see my diatribe above.