While it's true that ''politically correct'' comes from the Soviet Union I remember distinctly seeing the phrase used unironically in the Village Voice in the 80's to lambast works of art (plays and novels) that were not sufficiently liberal in their outlook.
I remember a very liberal colleague once tellng a black friend of mine that he should not read anything by Ayn Rand because she was not politically correct, since she didn't have black characters or address the plight of black people. I have a feeling most of the liberals who used the phrase weren't aware of its Soviet lineage.
It was only later that conservatives picked up on the phrase to mock the liberal attitudes we now know as PC.
I'm not going to do the research, but I am sure a search through Village Voice archives would uncover many references.
After reading some threads today, it got me to thinking about the term "politically correct" (PC) and its usage.
Pretty interesting, actually. It hasn't been around all that long. According to Wikipedia: Use of the term became popular in the early 1990s as part of a conservative challenge to curriculum and teaching methods on college campuses in the United States (D'Souza 1991; Berman 1992; Schultz 1993; Messer Davidow 1993, 1994; Scatamburlo 1998.) The word was taken from Marxist-Leninist vocabulary following the Russian Revolution, when it was used to describe the Party Line.
It goes on to say, regarding its History: Use of the term then declined in the late 1990s, and it is now mostly seen in comedy or as a political slur with questionable meaning. More recently, the term has been reclaimed by a tiny subset of multiculturalist writers and speakers who are oblivious to or reject its controversial connotations and origins.
About 2/3 down the page are some Examples of language modification, such as:
* Invalid became disabled, then became handicapped, then became disabled again, then became people with disabilities (the emphasis being on "people"), then became differently abled, then became physically challenged (the current term.
* In the United States over the course of one hundred years, blacks became Negroes, then became blacks again, then became Afro-Americans, then became African-Americans (the current term). In the meantime, the term "colored" came into and went out of usage, while the related term "people of color" came into usage later on.
* Mentally handicapped became mentally challenged.
* Juvenile delinquency became children at risk.
* In 2002, the UK Labour Government advised schools to replace traditional "Sports Day" for "Problem Solving" exercises to avoid humiliation by the children's parents.
Here's a recent article that was humorous in regard to PC going too far:
'Brainstorming', the buzzword used by executives to generate ideas among their staff, has been deemed politically incorrect by civil servants because it is thought to be offensive to people with brain disorders.
'You do sometimes wonder if some people haven't got anything better to do with their time,' said spokesman John Wild. 'Do they just sit down and search out enough words until eventually they can say: "I can make that out to be politically incorrect"?
--Marcia (with a bit of idle time on her hands)