I heard exactly those same things (in fact, I still hear them at times) here in the PNW on steelhead rivers back in the early 90's. I have a very good friend who is now in his middle 60's that won't even pick up one of my 2-handers to see if he would like it because in his words, "those things are so big and heavy, it has to be like casing a telephone pole all day long. Besides, those long monster rods would wear a normal person out in less than an hour." This from a guy who uses a 10' 10 wt in winter; but I suppose since he has been flyfishing for steelhead since his teens, it is very difficult for him to see how using 2 hands on a longer rod is actually easier on the body than the 10' rods he uses.
I remember very well reading Lee Wulff and Col. Bates writing about how much more pleasurable using the shorter 9' rods were for salmon. I also remember reading their words about how uneccessary it is to use such "old fashioned" equipment as the overly long and heavy 2-handers still in use in Europe for salmon. I seem to recall that they also said something about the lighter 9' single handers eventually taking over from the big, heavy 2-handers as fishers folks in Europe learned the joys of fishing with lighter and more enjoyable to casts 9' rods.
I suppose they would be turning over in their graves today since 2-handers have regained a following.