"L'homme gagne en humanité."
No no no. The man wins a HUGE manatee. Listen more carefully: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_mQn_Zhbi9gg/TUoiim0kz5I/AAAAAAAACXk/v2fgkywvkbU/s1600/hugemanatee_original.jpg
Before criticizing the French for using the third person singular to refer to both men and women, consider how much time you've had to spend struggling with whether to write "she", "he", "he or she", "she or he", "they" or "one" in English.
To wit: "If a person wants to write such a sentence, he will have to make up his mind on a particular way of doing it." (traditional sexism); "If a person wants to write such a sentence, she will have to make up her mind on a particular way of doing it." (inverted sexism); "If a person wants to write such a sentence, he or she will have to make up his or her mind on a particular way of doing it." (cumbersome, with the traditional sexist ordering of pronouns); "If a person wants to write such a sentence, she or he will have to make up her or his mind on a particular way of doing it." (cumbersome, and with an inverted sexist ordering of pronouns); "If a person wants to write such a sentence, they will have to make up their mind on a particular way of doing it." (singular "they", everyone uses it in spoken English but it doesn’t seem quite right written down); "If one wants to write such a sentence, one will have to make up one's mind on a particular way of doing it" (archaic and\or pretentious).
This problem doesn't exist in French, you just use "il" or "on". Easy.
I was not criticizing the French for using the third person singular to refer to both men and women. I was not bringing up anything of the sort. And I wasn't criticizing the French at all. My point was to do with the sentences this particular website is using.
The sentence 'The man wins in humanity' appears to mean that men are the victors among humans, necessarily indicating that women are the losers. And there are a lot of sentences that seem a bit misogynist to me, not just this one.
My point and your point are completely unrelated.
Actually I just took the l'homme to mean that we should pay attention to the requirement to elide articles etc. that end with a vowel into words that start with an -h-. A point that would have been much less clear had the sentence begun la femme. It also reinforced three newly acquired words. Not bad for a phrase only four words long. Except, as has been pointed out the sentence doesn't make much sense in English. Unless you read some deeper meaning into it and contemporary society in general. Then the meaning becomes all too clear. (for some people)
Had the sentence read the woman wins in humanity the meaning would be much more clear since it conforms to cultural stereotypes that women, by virtue of their plumbing, are more humane than men. At which point Duo could be fairly accused of gender stereotyping.
Anyway my strategy is to learn the speech patterns, colloquialisms and irregularities of French. Having done so, then I -might- take on the challenge of convincing the French to conform to my world view.
For now I'll let Duo do their thing.
Sorry. I didn't explain myself clearly.
As I understand it “l’homme” can also be used to refer to a generic person of either sex, just as “il” can.
I wouldn’t agree with your translation of the text — I understand it to mean something along the lines of “A human being gains humanity (from some unspecified source)” — but I would agree that some of the Duolingo sentences seem a bit sexist.