Chinese Character Ren - Human

 
Meaning: Human
Sound: /rén/

The Chinese character for a human being is 人. It looks like a person standing on his two legs. 

When it was first created over three thousand years ago, the Chinese character for man was shaped like this:

Chinese Character Huamn - Ren, ancient pictograph

As you can see, it pictograph shows a person standing, viewed from the side, with his arms stretching out forward. So what later people interpreted to be the person's two legs was initially drawn as arms and legs. Anyhow, over time the character has evolved to be what see today, 人.

人 is pronounced /rén/.

The word 人 is gender neutral, namely it suggests a person of unknown gender. When people want to specify the gender of a person, they say "nán rén" (male person or man) or "nǚ rén" (female person or woman). 

The human being is, of course, very important. In traditional Chinese cosmology, 天 (Heaven), 地 (Earth) and 人 (Man) are considered three key existences, and they interact with one another in intricate ways.

The Chinese concept of humanity is represented by the character 仁. The left part is an altered form of 人 while the right part of the word is the character for “two". 仁, therefore, is "two persons", what happens between them. In other words, in the Chinese culture, the concept of humanity, at its fundamental level, is the relationship among fellow human beings. Here we find the origin of Chinese humanism.