c.1300, "kind, sort, class," from Old French gendre (12c., Modern French genre), from stem of Latin genus (genitive generis) "race, stock, family; kind, rank, order; species," also (male or female) "sex" (see genus) and used to translate Aristotle's Greek grammatical term genos.
The grammatical sense is attested in English from late 14c.; the male-or-female sense from early 15c. As sex took on erotic qualities in 20c., gender came to be the common word used for "sex of a human being," often in feminist writing with reference to social attributes as much as biological qualities; this sense first attested 1963. Gender-bender is first attested 1980, with reference to pop star David Bowie.