In this paper the general non symmetric parametric form of the incremental secant stiffness matrix for nonlinear analysis of solids using the finite element method is derived. A convenient symmetric expression for a particular value of the parameters is obtained. The geometrically nonlinear formulation is based on a Generalized Lagrangian approach. Detailed expressions of all the relevant matrices involved in the analysis 3D solids are obtained. The possibilities of application of the secant stiffness matrix for nonlinear structural problems including stability, bifurcation and limit load analysis are also discussed. Examples of application are given for the nonlinear analysis of pin joined frames.