Gotta pick something, and 72F is a decent average.
72F is a little on the warm side in the winter, but it is way too fucking cold in the summer. I've seen many control systems that use 72F as a setpoint, but the heat doesn't go on until the room drops at least 2F below that, and the A/C doesn't kick in until the space temperature rises at least 2F above.
There are many differences in preferences for comfort among men and women, different clothing, individual preferences, and the uncertainty in the "data" (apparently based on one man) ASHRAE has used for a standard metabolic equivalent (btuh per sq ft of skin or W per sq m). More importantly However, people get accustomed to the climate. When I worked on projects in Phoenix, they would put on sweaters and complain if you let the temperature drop much below 78F. In colder climates, many people prefer indoor temperatures at or below 70F in the winter,especially at night when sleeping.
However, the best attempt at a solution to the problem is to have good HVAC systems that control humidity well and have good localized temperature controls. You will still get people disagreeing when they share a thermostat in open office areas (which is why most larger offices use a temperature sensor with no display or local setpoint adjustment rather than thermostats) but you can't please everyone all of the time.
Personally, I bring a sweater to work every day all year round because the temperature in the morning train seems to be inversely proportional to the outside temperature the evening before (unless the heating & A/C is out, as it often is) and the temperature in the office varies randomly. It's no big deal to carry the sweater.