I'm not terribly old: 35. Been doing web development as a career since 1999.
From the beginning I was a consumer of RDBMSes. Started with
Access and moved on to SQL Server. There wasn't a need to know the full DB, only the pieces you needed for CRUD. Perhaps for newbs that has changed, and they have to learn the full SQL administrative experience. Personally I doubt that. Do some db migrations in Rails: you don't even need to know what SQL engine you're running on. (A good thing, IMO, but still means a lesser body of knowledge)
Good point that a lot of products try so hard to be the "new sexy" that they suggest an inaccurate comparison, or at best, implement a subset of what they're trying to replace.