along with humanist used in a variety of philosophical and theological senses 16c.-18c., especially ones concerned with the (mere) humanity of Christ, or imitating Latin humanitas "education befitting a cultivated man." See human (adj.) + -ism. In the sense "the doctrine or science of human nature," humanics (1864) has been used.
From 1832 in reference to "intelligent study and appreciation of the classics," especially in reference to the Renaissance. By 1847 in reference to "system or mode of thought in which human interests predominate" (originally often in the writings of its enemies). As a pragmatic system of thought, defined 1907 by co-founder F.C.S. Schiller as "The perception that the philosophical problem concerns human beings striving to comprehend a world of human experience by the resources of human minds."