Well, in my case it was that games in that bygone era had age modifiers, which meant that everybody played 20-25 year olds, if for no other reason than nobody wanted penalties for being young or old.
And Coriolis has, in my opinion, not much wiggle room for these kind of modifiers. Losing a single attribute point would be a disaster already!
I'm convinced that background, training and past experience – and of course the player's willingness to adjust skills and attributes to said background – basically make 'age modifiers' obsolete for characters age 14 to 60. A well schooled 14 year old may well outwit the 31 year old captain who only ever saw the inside of his ship. At 16, agility and possibly strength may be at the absolute height in your life give or take a few years.
And, to take an example from my personal real life, a regular runner not even 40 years of age can frequently be outclassed by seniors 60+ on the track.
Though I'll say, it's a bit annoying when those leave me in their dust!