"class, sort, variety," from Old English gecynd "kind, nature, race," related to cynn "family" (see kin), from Proto-Germanic *kundjaz "family, race," from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups.
Ælfric's rendition of "the Book of Genesis" into Old English came out gecyndboc. The prefix disappeared 1150-1250. No exact cognates beyond English, but it corresponds to adjective endings such as Goth -kunds, Old High German -kund. Also in English as a suffix (mankind, etc., also compare godcund "divine"). Other earlier, now obsolete, senses included "character, quality derived from birth" and "manner or way natural or proper to anyone."
Phrase a kind of (1590s) indicating something like or similar to something else led to the colloquial extension as adverb (1804) in phrases such as kind of stupid "a kind of stupid (person), (one) not far from stupidity." However "good usage" once condemned as inaccurate the use as an adjective as in our kind of people, some kind of joke. All kinds is Old English alles cynnes, in Middle English sometimes contracted to alkins.