I am finishing a paper which was created thanks to my inspiration of Erik Erikson's work on psychological developement. The paper is, however, in the field of thermodynamics and complexity-science. I, therefore, feel grateful that such a great theory was created many years ago, and now is capable to push exact sciences step forward. I named two terms following Erikson's theory. I would like to note this somewhere, or state in general that I was inspired by the theory.
Do you think that it is OK to do this? Maybe I should hold back for some time, I can always state the "thank you" in the subsequent papers?
Instead of acknowledging him, you can dedicate the paper to him. I fully agree with @anonymous mathematician that acknowledgment has another purpose. Dedicating to a paper to a famous professor for her/his birthday, however, is not that uncommon and in spirit, I feel it closer to your intentions.