I recently finished Ken Liu's phenomenal English translation of Liu Cixin's The Three-Body Problem, and the term "sophon" to describe an AI constructed out of a sub-atomic particle reminded me of the term "sophont" from the Game Designer's Workshop's (GDW) space-operatic sci-fi game Traveller. In the GDW-published campaign material "sophont" was used, as far as I could tell, to describe any species with language-level intelligence, regardless of technology level, physical traits, artificial or evolutionary design, etc.
I recently noticed someone in a fantasy RPG discussion forum using the term "sophont" to generally refer to all the intelligent races/beings (i.e. humans, elves, dwarves, demons, lizard-folk, etc.).
"Sophont" does not appear in the Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition), nor in any editions of the Webster's English dictionaries I have seen. However, the first Google Books mention in the English language is from 1972 in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
Did the term "sophont" originate in the science fiction or fantasy literature genres? What was its first appearance? (Assume that I include games, comic books, comic strips, etc. in the category "literature" along with novels, short stories, etc.)