Skills, feats, spells and so on were described in terms of what they did in the game world. The mechanics of how they worked within the rules was secondary.
I’m not sure that comparison is fair. Older editions had plenty of mechanics that didn’t seem justified in-game.
I do think it is a fair expectation about what a role-playing game ought to provide.
Except for a game like Risus, where the mechanics are intentionally very abstract. Translating between the abstract mechanics and specifics in the game world is—to an extent—what such games are all about.