From 'Vocabulary' part of The ABC Of Plain Words by Sir E Gowers (1951)

This word should not be used as a noun except for the purpose of distinguishing between an individual and a group, as it is used in Income Tax Law to mark the distinction between a personal taxpayer and a corporate one. It should not be treated as a synonym for person, though this meaning (called by the Oxford English Dictionary "vulgar or disparaging ") was common in the nineteenth century, especially in Dickens, who was fond of using it facetiously. Like the French individu, it has acquired a contemptuous tinge. Readers of Surtees will remember that Mr. Martin Moonface's reference to Mr. Jorrocks as an "unfortunate individual" provoked the indignant retort "You are another indiwidual".

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