There are some practical exceptions, for example, you could record a person as born in Arizona or Utah before those places became states because there is very little possibility of confusion. But in almost all other areas, the place name recorded should be the one used by the jurisdiction at the time. This is particularly true in places like Eastern Europe where place names may have changed several times over the years.
As an example, how many times have you run across relatives that said they were from Russia, when at the time they were born, they lived in the Austro-Hungarian Empire or in the Ukraine.
This problem becomes acute when dealing with county records. Every state in the U.S. has changed their county boundaries multiple times. I have had a lot of experiences where researchers were searching in the wrong county because the place recorded was the modern county, not the historical one.
Now, standardized place names come on the scene. At the very least, unless the "standardized" place is accurate at the time of the event, then the standardized place name should be disregarded. I always refer to my own family. When the pioneers arrived in Northern Arizona, it was, of course, a territory of the United States. The place where the Tanner's settled was called Allen's Camp and was in Yavapai County. By the time all the name changes and jurisdictional changes occurred from Yavapai to Apache to Navajo counties, without moving, they ended up in Joseph City, Navajo, Arizona after 1923.
So how many of my ancestors that were born before all of the name changes are reported to have been born in Joseph City? Nearly all of them. Using a standard place name will obscure the historical reality as well as mislead subsequent researchers who are not careful enough to search out the history of the place. This is not a speculative problem. For example, the new FamilySearch.org Family Tree program manual at page 41 provides the following:
If the Family Tree can apply a standard, it does so, even if you did not choose an option from the drop-down list.This is exceptionally dangerous. However, FamilySearch is not alone in its use of "standardized" places. They also appear in other programs such a Ancestry.com when you type in a place to search. Ancestry.com will then suggest a standardized place name. This whole issue does not arise from genealogists (even careless ones), it comes from computer programmers' desire to avoid work. They don't want to be bothered with "messy" reality, they would much rather impose their own structure on the world and make us all conform to it.
Here is the justification from FamilySearch's Family Tree Manual at page 31 for imposing standardized place names:
When you enter dates and place-names, Family Tree helps you select a standardizedIn other words, it makes the computer programmers' job easier. Unfortunately, the by-product makes the genealogist's job very much harder or even impossible.
place. Using standardized dates and places helps clarify the information that you enter.
It also helps the system find people with the search feature.
I certainly understand that FamilySearch Family Tree allows for variations in place names, but based on the instructions, you would be led to believe that you were not "playing by the rules" to ignore standardized place names. I must admit, that when the standardized name agrees with the place name in my database, I use the standard, but I also systematically ignore the standard when it makes sense to do so.