Steve Anchell in his "The Darkroom Cookbook" 3rd. ed. not only lists formulas for 510 Pyro and PC-TEA, but also devotes a feature page to Gainer's discussion of his formulas. He has one of Gainer's photo's in the both. So there is no distain for the organic solvent developers in his book.
PC-TEA has its limitations and there are newer formulations of a similar type that may have advantages. I think PC-TEA is misunderstood. Anchell and Troop, like many authors, categorize developers into two main classes. There are fine-grain/solvent developers like D-76 and high-definition/acutance developer like Beutler, FX 1.2, 37, 38. PC-TEA fits the characteristics they attribute to high acutance developers. It is fairly high pH; it has a fairly small amount of developing agents. It produces acutance enhancing agency effects caused by compensation action. It produces moderate grain. So it would make more sense to compare it with acutance developer than solvent developers. If someone has to have a fine grain/solvent developer they will probably not like PC-TEA and likely will not like some other acutance developers either. So I think saying that it is not as good as Xtol or D-76 misses the point. Rodinal produces courser grain and may lose more speed than PC-TEA, but people don't tend to damn it for not being like D-76.
PC-TEA could also be compared to Caffenol. Before you laugh, there are people doing well regarded work with Caffenol.
In my opinion, PC-TEA produces very nice skin tones and I have not seen a film it didn't work with in terms of tonality.
Compared to developers generally, PC-TEA may not seem to stand out. But when it comes to inexpensive, environmentally-friendly developers that come in a long-lasting, one-part, liquid stock, the list is very short. It depends on what is important to a person. If low toxicity, convenience and cost are seen as important, then PC-TEA looks pretty good. I think one of the biggest drawbacks of PC-TEA is that TEA is not available is all areas.