There was a study done years ago about male/female sexuality and attraction. The study was done on relatively isolated villages in Africa. The study noted that the males from a given village did not marry or enter into long-term relationships with women from the same village; quite literally all the males from any given village always married or entered into LTR's with women only from other villages. To keep this short, the reason behind this was that boys and girls raised together or in close proximity naturally did not view each other in a sexual way; simply because they were raised together and in much the same way that boys/men are not, normally speaking, sexually attracted to their sisters/mothers/female cousins, etc.
So, with that said, yes, men and women can be just friends but only in specific circumstances.
But generally speaking, no friggin way can men and women just be friends. It may be easier for women (because of a more developed frontal lobe) to "just be friends" but even women will not deny thoughts or some attraction to their "male friends", even if that male friend is overtly homosexual.
Let's face it, as long as men have a penis, women outside their "home village" are fodder for conquest.
Propagation of the species will always defy political correctness.