PulseAudio met an important need at the time, which was desktop adoption. It's a kludge but was a necessary one for "ordinary" users who increasingly wanted a machine that worked out of the box. It wasn't an issue for you, but "the minor trouble of setting up jackd", config files, and christ almighty, hardware compatibility lists were NOT flying with users who were attracted to linux but feared the tinkering. When the dust settled, and yeah, there was a lot of dust, it worked and the user base grew as a result.
It's probably true that there were fewer considerations from the systemd crowd about the future of the back end and that was probably realistic and pragmatic - it doesn't make the back end any less stable. If it makes front end dev easier through a modular approach and accelerates user adoption, and that's where growth needs to occur, systemd will be a plus. I'm optimistic.