Prompted by a comment to this question: How to use skills — did this change between editions and how?
Interestingly, 3.x was originally intended to be used as a toolset like AD&D, but it wasn’t explicitly stated because it was just “how RPGs worked” at the time and taken for granted, but the online community ended up reading it as a more rigid framework, and later books shifted to accommodate that community feedback, making 3.x clearly a rigid-framework game before halfway through its life.
It made me wonder, how exactly has the rules text changed over the publishing run of 3e?
What are some examples of more "toolset"-y wording vs more rigid wording?
And how did Pathfinder fit on that spectrum?