From the evidence of Webster 1913
below one can surely glean that if the word in question was indeed made up, it was not done recently. In his preface to the postumous
ly published Persuasion
, Jane Austen
's nephew himself refers to her as an authoress, which bears further evidence to the fact that the word was still in common use in the first half of the 19th century.
You sentiment regarding the inadvisability of gender bias in language is a noble one, and indeed one that I heartilly support. However, your claim that English is inherently a gender neutral language is not born out by the evidence of male and female personal pronouns, different words for male and female siblings etc. There is at least some degree of gender bias in the infrastructure of the language, exacerbated by cultural influences - a female thespian insisting on being called an actor would surely deserve at least a measure of scorn for being somewhat pretentious.
Your own recent dissaprobation of my vehement objection to being referred to as "Mrs." refers.