When I was growing up, many moons ago, it seemed that an ‘actor’ was always a male, and an ‘actress’ was always a female. I realize now that an actor can be either male or female, and that the word actress, which always pertains to a female, is used less often now.
Did the word actor always include both males and females, and if it did why did they have the word actress? And if it didn’t, when did the usage change, and why?
According to dictionary.com…
“a ***person ***who acts in stage plays, motion pictures, television broadcasts, etc.”
“a ***woman ***who acts in stage plays, motion pictures, television broadcasts, etc., especially professionally.”