I think you may be putting too much thought on the what-ifs. You might be happier working with one hand, since one or both may be empty at this point. What's always worked for me, when I can maintain the position (which isn't always easy), is 'going with the flow'. If a female partner feels right, work with that. When you feel like you want a male partner would be the time to talk about that. If Mal is already struggling, talking about what may not come to pass could just aggravate his situation more.
That doesn't mean it's wrong for you to worry-- the situation does sound sexist, he clearly has some baggage that you want him to get rid of. But is now the time? You may find a better opportunity to have him work on it ahead. Don't take this the wrong way, but are you sure the conflict wouldn't just be another distraction?
Also, were you enjoying your school group? If you were able to attend the meetings more regularly, would that fulfill you as much as other pursuits you could engage in?