This prompted Mr Trudeau to ask the student to use the term "peoplekind" instead of mankind.
But after finding himself the butt of jokes the prime minister backed away from his comments on Wednesday during a scrum with reporters before he headed into a Liberal caucus meeting.
In an exchange between Trudeau and a woman asking about religious charities at the Edmonton event, Trudeau interjected when she used the word mankind, telling her he preferred to say peoplekind.
The prime minister then raised his hand and said: "We like to say 'peoplekind, ' not necessarily 'mankind, ' because it's more inclusive".
The comments went viral on social media and was soon picked up by traditional media outlets as well, with critics accusing Trudeau of engaging in unnecessary political correctness.
'It played well in the room and in context.
"It's a little reminder to me that I shouldn't be making jokes even when I think they're amusing", he said.
British commentator Piers Morgan accused Trudeau of "virtue-signalling" - the act of showing off one's own moral virtue to impress others - his feminist beliefs in an opinion piece for the British Daily Mail.
Fox and Friends was among the programs that played the footage of Trudeau. Australian columnist Rita Panahi called him the "Kim Kardashian of political leaders; an all-style, no-substance himbo with all the depth of a puddle".
Jokes included pictures posted of comic superhero Batman changing his name to "Batperson" and suggestions that Manitoba become "Peopletoba". On Tuesday, however, the president appeared to be holding his thumbs.
After Chicago, he's scheduled to stop in San Francisco, where he's set to meet with local business leaders and entrepreneurs, and Los Angeles, where he'll speak at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute.