This is a personal pet peeve of mine & I was wondering if anyone had noticed it as well: Gender neutral occupations like chef, runner, etc. are not usually qualified when a male is being discussed. However, people will say "woman athlete", though they would never say "man athlete". If anything, you'd say "male athlete" & should then say "female athlete".
How words are used are hugely important, especially in subtly conveying meanings. I've always thought this usage, among other related ways in which we use words, is demeaning to females in a way because the wording used implies a difference, when it shouldn't really matter. Not sure if that really makes sense - it's difficult to fully convey what about it rubs me the wrong way.
What about high school/college athletics? If the football or baseball team are the "Wolves" then the girl's teams are the "Lady Wolves". Why aren't the girls the wolves & boys the men wolves? Why are the Tennessee footballers the "Volunteers" or "Vols" while the women's team are the "Lady Vols"? I heard of a hs fb team the "Steers" & the women's teams were the "Lady Steers" ---- which is absurd on more than one level....