"Mook" rules seem all the rage these days in roleplaying games. Even the new edition of D&D has them. I find it interesting that this is considered some sort of innovation, given that Dungeons & Dragons has had such rules since OD&D (stemming from Chainmail, I believe). Under OD&D, a fighting man can attack a number of times equal to his level when facing foes of 1 Hit Die or lower. This rule carried over into AD&D in modified form, with multiple attacks being allowed only against foes of less than 1 Hit Die. Philotomy suggests (correctly, I think) that the change occurred because a 1st-level OD&D fighting man has 1+1 (d6) Hit Dice, while a 1st-level AD&D fighter has 1 (d10) Hit Dice.
In any event, it was only with 3e that this rule went away. I think that's unfortunate, because not only did it speed up combat in certain situations, but it also added powerful distinctiveness to the fighter class. Only the fighter had this ability and it helped to solidify the notion that the fighter was, as his name suggested, the melee combatant par excellence. The loss of this ability isn't the end of the world, of course, at least not any more than Greyhawk's allowing Thieves to wield magic swords, previously the sole province of the fighting man. But it's another example of the slow whittling down of the class's uniqueness in favor of "sexier" options.
This is not a new phenomenon; I'm not laying the blame solely on newer games. The trend began right there in Supplement I, where the paladin is like a Fighter+ and the Thief stole the stealthy combatant role away and claimed it as its own. So, I'm actually sympathetic to the notion that the fighter needs some beefing up compared to other classes. At the same time, I'm well aware of the history behind the diminution of the fighting man and I see most modern attempts to address this as absurd hypercorrections. The fighter is a very primal, "pure" class and I'd like to see it stay that way. What it needs is not lots of mechanical bells and whistles or a role beyond its true raison d'être -- combat -- but a simple focus on making the class better a fighting, whether melee, missile, or stealth, than any other class.
This vision of the fighter was lost a long time ago, but that's no excuse not to return to it.