It's a bit more complicated with historical figures (and by "historical figures", for this purposes, I mean "anyone who died more than 20 years ago"), because everyone in history was at least a little some -ism. As a history lover, I'm acutely aware just how much most of the young population living today are NOT aware that modern attitudes to race, sex, gender and all kinds of identity issues are very, VERY recent.
I disagree with that. Of course, the geography and the era that a person was born have an effect on her worldview, but I can't consider it as an excuse. There are many scientist or historical figures who are not sexist, homophobic, etc in spite of where and when they were born