I haven't looked into it but I would not be surprised if they have changed it. If they did, I would suspect its most likely an incidental change, although I would love to find out it was actually on purpose.
You see your request although seemingly justified is bad for overall security, specially in an environment where user accountability might be an issue. For example in the medical records, where the doctor that orders/approves/requests a procedure or change to patient care is accountable for the consequences. This is the reason that Mac OS has no means to show you what the actual password of a user is, but will let you change it. Changing a password gets logged, and when you don't have access to a users original password you will be neither able to unlock their keychain nor set the password back to what it used to be without triggering a log entry.
Now I understand that in small environment this is neither necessary nor secure, since the only person with access or expertise into the logs is the admin, and he can alter or delete these files. But in an environment with auditing procedures and secured log servers this functionality makes things much better.
My suggestion to you and your admins is to have fast user switching enabled by default. This way when a computer is locked in the screen saver you can simply hit the switch user button and access the admin account that will let you maintain/upgrade/install almost anything necessary.
Good luck finding your answer, I hope my suggestion proves a little bit helpful.