In all languages with genders I know the word for man is masculine, and the word for women is feminine. While this is still technically true for the word мужчина, it is the only Russian masculine word I know that declines like a feminine word ending in "a". Can anyone give a historical reason why this is the case?
Not all words in Russian ending with -a are feminine, so the question is quite incorrect. When we use any definition, like "clever", there appears masculine ending -ый, that shows we talk of a masculine: умный мужчина, while it would be -ая for femine: умная женщина. The suffix -ина appears both in feminine and masculine words, masculine words like детина, мужчина were often used in conversational dialect, showing the brutality and big size of the matter :) In many dialects мужчина was used for rustics. Here is some information: http://wordhist.narod.ru/genshina.html
Because they have the same origin (from abstract words).
This word is not a single example of nouns ending with -а belonging to the masculine gender. But it is interesting that it appeared rather late and in Old Russian we had муж(see Фасмер ).
I will try to translate the essential part of that interesting article.
The word мужчина originated from the noun with generalized meaning мужьщина, formed from the adjective мужьскъ with the suffix -ина; Compare: женщина, деревенщина etc. (Соболевский, Лекции, с. 111). The word came into being not earlier than XV — XVI centuries. It was not mentioned in the book («Материалы для словаря древнерусского языка» И. И. Срезневский.) А. А. Потебня used this word to illustrate the change in the meaning (general--collective --individual ).
Thus, мужьчина meant the quality of the person who was мужьскъ (manly ). (Потебня, Из зап. по русск. грам., 3, с. 33).
«Д. И. Буслаев and А. А. Потебня ...analysed the reasons of transition of general, abstract or collective nouns into those denoting a person (like слуга, служба, простота, старина, мужчина и т. п.) showing how words of common gender (ending with -a) developed (Виноградов. Русск. язык, с. 67).
-ина doesn't seem native to Russian and 3 East Slavic languages in general, there's really a handful of words formed by it
another masculine word of this pattern is
детина, in Ukrainian however
дитина is feminine and means quite what the root suggests,
a child, and not
a big guy
in fact all Ukrainian words suffixed
-ина are feminine