Last night, while reading to my daughter from her new NIV Adventure Bible, and without the recent controversy even crossing my mind, I read Matthew 4:18-19 aloud: ".. and I will make you fishers of me- .. er .. people?"
Clearly "men" in this context was always meant to be understood as all people, so while the new translation is unobjectionable in this sense, I take issue with it on other grounds. The first reason is precisely because the use of "men" in this verse is already understood to be effectively gender inclusive, due to the context and usage, and therefore I see no real need to alter it. No one reads the verse and honestly thinks to themselves "Are they only going to preach the gospel to men and not women?", because the meaning is clear despite the use of the masculine. On the other hand, one can make the argument that the pervasive use of masculine terms to describe gender-neutral humanity can subtly signify an inequality or inferiority of women in God's kingdom, which can also be problematic. This is why I had no strong opinion on the matter in general, because reasonable arguments can be made both ways, and in the end it doesn't seem to make a huge difference, whichever way you go.
However, the specifics of the context of this verse made me cringe at the use of the gender inclusive "people". Compare the two translations.
Matt 4:18-19, NIV 1984
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”Matt. 4:18-19, NIV 2011
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”The new translation seems tone deaf to the literary symmetry of taking "fishermen" and making them into "fishers of men". You could also retain that symmetry by taking "fisherpeople" and making them into "fishers of people", but that seems a bit silly. While the meaning of the verse is unaltered in the new translation, the quality and vibrancy of the expression is injured. For this reason, in the case of this particular verse, I strongly prefer the translation in the old NIV (and just about every other translation) to the new NIV.