Alexander Belopolsky added the comment:
In the context of Python library documentation, the word "encoding" strongly suggests that you are dealing with string/bytes. The situation may be different in C. If you want to refer to something that is defined by the POSIX standard you should use the words that can actually be found in that standard.
When I search for "encoding" at http://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/9699919799/, I get
crypt - string encoding function (CRYPT) encrypt - encoding function (CRYPT) setkey - set encoding key (CRYPT)
and nothing related to time.