|19th c. Indian pandits|
Source: Kamat's Potpourri
According to Wikipedia, the term "pundit" comes from a Sanskrit word, pandit. In English, it refers to "...someone who offers to mass media his or her opinion or commentary on a particular subject area (most typically political analysis, the social sciences or sport) on which they are usually knowledgeable (or can at least appear to be knowledgeable)." In modern Indian usage, it means a, "...scholar and a teacher, particularly one skilled in the Sanskrit language, who has mastered the four Vedic scriptures, Hindu rituals, Hindu law, religion, music, and/or philosophy under a Guru in a Gurukul or has been tutored under the ancient vedic Guru Shishya academic tradition." In Thai, pandit (บัณฑิต), is widely used in education circles to signify someone who has received a college or university degree. Its wider meaning recalls its Sanskrit origin, i.e. a person of wisdom and learning, a sage.
According to dictionary.com (here), the British introduced the word into the English language from Hindi in the late 17th century, and it did not begin to take on its current meaning until the later 19th century—perhaps beginning with a social club at Yale.