A colleague has asked about the history of the term “paṇḍita”
Much relevant material can be found in: The Pandit. Traditional
Sanskrit Scholarship in India. Festschrift Parameshvara Aithal. (ed) Michaels,
Axel. New Delhi: Manohar. South Asian Studies series.
I have contributed an article to this volume which may be considered directly relevant to your query:
"Paṇḍita and pandits in
The second article in the same volume which indirectly explains how the uses noted so far on this thread become possible is: "The
pandits from a piṇḍa-brahmāṇḍa point of view.”