Hyperbole notwithstanding, I agree with Jack7 on the basic premise that, generally speaking, there are two polar views on the interaction between setting and characters in your typical D&D campaign. One end of the spectrum is that the setting does indeed exist to serve the player characters, that it should be designed at all levels to support the preferences of the players. The other end of the spectrum is that the world is defined, it exists as it does and the player characters meet the world and interact with it on its terms, dealing with its challenges and rewards. But as a continuum rather than merely two options, most campaigns, I think, exists somewhere between the two.
Also, while I think that any edition can be played anywhere along the continuum as a matter of agreement between the players and the DM, edition matters in regards to the assumed location along the continuum. Earlier editions, with random treasure tables and encounter tables based on environment, lean toward the "world side". Later editions with concepts of Level Appropriate and Wish lists lean toward the "PC side". But even so, where the campaign sits has far more to do with what happens at the table than what is found in the rulebooks.
As to the relationship between heroism and entitlement (in general, not as a commentary on editions) is that the more "freebies" the DM gives the PCs, the less heroic they are. heroism (to me) is defined as the struggle against adversity, and the reduction of that adversity by fudging dice or providing all the right/best items or arranging events so the PCs are always on the "right track" reduces adversity and therefore reduces heroism (and cheapens victories).
I tend toward the "here's the world, it's a dangerous place, go master it!" school of DMing. As such, it is incumbant upon me, as DM, to allow PCs the freedom to interact with the "uncaring" world on their own terms, and provide the players with the information necessary to make meaningful choices and execute the world's response to their actions to the best of my ability.
I could not have put it better.