In the later 1800s, apparently:
The findings show that, although a greater life expectancy for women is seen as normal today, it is actually "a relatively new demographic phenomenon that emerged among people born in the late 19th century," the researchers concluded. For example, among people born before 1840, death rates were about the same for men and women of a given age. But for people born between 1880 and 1899, death rates for men ages 50 to 70 were 1.5 times greater than those for women of the same age. Among people born after 1900, the death rate of 50- to 70-year-old men was double that of women of the same age, according to the study.The argument seems to be that back when we mainly died of infections, the death rates for women were the same as those of men or even higher, but as we have fought off viruses and bacteria we have more and more died of heart disease, to which men are more vulnerable.
Cardiovascular disease was the main cause of the higher death rates among men, the researchers said. Heart disease and stroke accounted for more than 40 percent of the increase in male mortality rates versus female mortality rates between 1880 and 1919, the researchers noted. Biologically, men may be more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease, but this susceptibility was seen only after deaths from other causes, such as infections, started to decline, the researchers said.