When I play NFS, I want to hold down the gas before the race and create a massive cloud of dust along with the sounds of a thousand jets exploding. Then, when the light turns green, my car should blast off the line like a rocket ship, and again, sounds of thousands of jets exploding even louder.
If this isn't what you're looking for, you want a racing sim.
When I want a racing sim, I play iRacing.
To answer your question, it became socially acceptable near the dawn of arcade racing games. Those big ass machines we raced in at the arcade, you know? Cruisin Country or whatever? Cruisin USA? Around then. Not sure what you mean by "finesse back in race starts" since there was never a time where False Starts were default so far as mainstream racing games go :D :S ?
All that said, an option to turn it on in arcadey games would be nice. But that's just not what most arcade peeps want from an arcade game. Simulation Racing games should already have what you're looking for, keeping in mind that Gran Turismo and Forza are more arcade-sim blends than raw sims.