I don’t like the way the question is framed, but I’m not sure I have a better suggestion. The problem I have is that unmanned missions are human exploration of space. The main difference is that you don’t have a human being in a space suit planting a flag as if she had just scaled a mountain peak. Robotic explorers don’t utter pithy comments as they set foot (or wheel) on a new planet.
I’d rather see money earmarked for a manned Mars mission spent on bigger-bang-for-the-buck science projects, whether those projects are exploring the solar system, next generation orbital telescopes, or earth science satellites.
The Mars Project in its various manned mission forms is premature.