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April 28, 1982

Efforts are underway to change the ''sexist'' categories of that great guidebook to words, Roget's Thesaurus. ''Mankind'' will become ''humankind,'' a ''countryman'' a ''country dweller,'' and so on.

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To the extent such changes enhance men's - oops, people's - awareness of their prejudices and help correct them, they are to be welcomed. But they could reach the ridiculous. Certainly most women do not object to the use of ''man'' in its generic meaning - which after all has been respectable since biblical days.