'Example' means a person, action, thing, etc., that is worthy of imitation; pattern.
So when you say :
"Take it as an example",
it means in this case take it as a pattern or something worth imitating,but it doesn't refer to persons!
If you said:
"Take him (her) as an example." then you refer to persons!
The expression 'for example' on the other hand means 'for instance' or 'as an illustration'.
You can use forms like :
"Take ...........( mention the thing,action, person or refer to it using a pronoun) for example.