Superman began with the story of a world doomed for destruction. A world that was inhabited by super human beings. A desperate father in a last attempt to save his son's life shipped his baby off of the planet. As luck would have it, Superman landed on Earth and was discovered. It took no time at all for Superman to discover that he had super powers, and an even shorter time after that to decide that he would use them for good. Anybody that encountered Superman out of uniform would never have the wildest guess that he was a super hero. He took on the role of a shy, stuttering reporter named Clark Kent. Clark Kent struggles to even snag a date with his co-worker Lois Lane. When he finally manages to ask her out he ends up running her off later in their date with his cowardliness. Unbeknownst to Lois, he saves her from the man that took her from him in the first place. What Clark Kent lacks, Superman makes up for. Superman fights off multiple bad men in this very first comic by doing what no other normal man would be able to do. He smashes through doors, both wooden and metal, his skin breaks a knife, and he scares a man half to death by jumping from building to building with him in tow. Nobody questions Superman as a hero.
In Scott McCloud's book Reinventing Comics, he mentions that in order to make people look at comics in a more positive way many things must be changed about the way comics are made. One of these that are mentioned is gender balance. I think by Superman, emphasis on man, just having that name hurts the chances of women super heroes being able to make it. Especially when the comics are written with women always having to be saved from something.