Gingerbread refers to a broad category of baked goods. Typically they are flavored with ginger, cloves, nutmeg or cinnamon and sweetened with honey, sugar or molasses. On the other hand, a gingerbread man is a biscuit or cookie made of gingerbread, usually in the shape of a stylized human, although other shapes, especially seasonal themes (Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc.) and characters, are common.
Gingerbread dates from the 15th century and figural biscuit-making was practiced in the 16th century. The Gingerbread Man (also known as The Gingerbread Boy) is a fairy tale about a gingerbread man's escape from various pursuers and his eventual demise between the jaws of a fox. The legend of the Gingerbread Man has a long-established provenance in mainland Europe. It is thought to have first appeared at the court of Queen Elizabeth I who presented courtiers with gingerbread likenesses of themselves at Christmas.