Have you ever heard the name Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815, London – 27 November 1852, Marylebone, London)? She is today considered as the first programmer since she was writing programs for Charles Babbage's general purpose mechanical computer back then. Yes you heard it right. And at this point whatever I say will be quoting the wikipedia or any other pages.
So what I am saying is that if someone claims that he/she was something or was doing something in any given time. It could be very well true. Let me give you a good example. Nowadays' popular topic. Being and doing SEO back in 90s. The argument is there wasn't even a word for it. And there wasn't the term SEO around.
Maybe there wasn't search engines that we take granted today. But there were some algorithms involved nontheless. And some people gave their time and efforts to make their sites appear in the first pages of certain search results within those limited capable search engines. What were they doing then? If not SEO? Of course I acknowledge that what they were doing wasn't today's SEO. Even maybe irrelevant. But one must remember Lady Lovelace wasn't programming webservices back then either... We honour her by giving her name to programming languages and appreciating her as the mother of computing!
It is a process which evolves over time, I can agree with that. BUT the argument is broken, wrong! You can say someone he/she is not SEO now or back then. But you cannot argue that there wasn't SEO's in any given time just because the term wasn't around!
Moreover; stop whining if you are not the first one at something... if you are not the one who invents, or not one of the firsts who's doing it. Not for SEO, not for anything. It is irritating. Or maybe your motivation is something other than being the first, I don't care. It is very annoying to say someone that he/she cannot be this or that because of some ridiculous terms and terms history. Terms are nothing, have no meaning at all.
PS: I, myself, have never done any SEO but I understand people are doing it over decades by now. Respect.