In March 1968, the French philosopher Michel Foucault is quoted as saying: "a political thought can be politically correct ('politiquement correcte') only if it is scientifically painstaking", referring to leftist intellectuals attempting to make Marxism scientifically rigorous rather than relying on orthodoxy.In the essay The Black Woman: An Anthology (1970), Toni Cade Bambara said that "a man cannot be politically correct and a [male] chauvinist, too." Thereafter, the term was often used as self-critical satire. Shultz said that "throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the New Left, feminists, and progressives...At this time, the term was mainly being used within academia: "Across the country the term p.c., as it is commonly abbreviated, is being heard more and more in debates over what should be taught at the universities".
The term had only scattered usage before the early 1990s, usually as an ironic self-description, but entered more mainstream usage in the United States when it was the subject of a series of articles in The New York Times.
and conservative author Dinesh D'Souza's 1991 book Illiberal Education, in which he condemned what he saw as liberal efforts to advance self-victimization, multiculturalism through language, affirmative action, and changes to the content of school and university curricula.
Moreover, Andrews said that politically moderate conceptions of the language–thought relationship suffice to support the "reasonable deduction ...
[of] cultural change via linguistic change" reported in the Sex Roles journal article "Development and Validation of an Instrument to Measure Attitudes Toward Sexist/Nonsexist Language" (2000), by Janet B. Liberal commentators have argued that the conservatives and reactionaries who used the term did so in effort to divert political discussion away from the substantive matters of resolving societal discrimination – such as racial, social class, gender, and legal inequality – against people whom the right-wing do not consider part of the social mainstream.
What has come to be called "political correctness," a term that began to gain currency at the start of the academic year last fall, has spread in recent months and has become the focus of an angry national debate, mainly on campuses, but also in the larger arenas of American life. And although the movement arises from the laudable desire to sweep away the debris of racism and sexism and hatred, it replaces old prejudice with new ones.
The previously obscure far-left term became common currency in the lexicon of the conservative social and political challenges against progressive teaching methods and curriculum changes in the secondary schools and universities of the U. In May 1991, at a commencement ceremony for a graduating class of the University of Michigan, then U. It declares certain topics off-limits, certain expression off-limits, even certain gestures off-limits." It became a key term encapsulating conservative concerns about the left in culture and political debate more broadly, as well as in academia.
Two articles on the topic in late 1990 in Forbes and Newsweek both used the term "thought police" in their headlines, exemplifying the tone of the new usage, but it was Dinesh D'Souza's Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus (1991) which "captured the press's imagination." Similar critical terminology was used by D'Souza for a range of policies in academia around victimization, supporting multiculturalism through affirmative action, sanctions against anti-minority hate speech, and revising curricula (sometimes referred to as "canon busting").
These trends were at least in part a response to multiculturalism and the rise of identity politics, with movements such as feminism, gay rights movements and ethnic minority movements.
Herbert Kohl, in 1992, commented that a number of neoconservatives who promoted the use of the term "politically correct" in the early 1990s were former Communist Party members, and, as a result, familiar with the Marxist use of the phrase.