Most romance languages and most Germanic languages words for men belong to a single cognate class for each language family (home, ome, homme, uomo, hombre... for romance languages and man, Mann, mann... for germanic languages). However, words for women belong to several cognate classes within each family (dona/donna, mujer/mulher, femme/femna... for romance languages and woman, Frau/vrouw, kvinna/kvinne... for Germanic languages). Although some of these words are often cognate with words in other languages, those words aren't the general word to mean woman (for example, French dame is cognate with Catalan/Italian dona/donna or English queen is cognate with Nordic languages kvinna).
Additionally, across those two families, words for boys and girls are even more diverse than those for women.
That's just a couple of data points but they suggest to me that words for women are more diverse than words for men, and the [maybe not very serious] pages https://pappubahry.com/maps/ie_cognates/man_big.html and https://pappubahry.com/maps/ie_cognates/woman_big.html point in the same direction.
My questions are:
- Is there a trend across language families of being words for men more conservative than words for women?
- If that trend exists, what is its cause? My guess is that the idea and role of men remained quite unchanged while societies evolved, but women were referred according to their roles (daughter, marriageable woman, wife...) and the emphasis on these roles changed as societies changed. That process could be even stronger for boys and girls.