I personally would not recommend Rhett Butler's People to anyone who enjoyed Gone with the Wind. It erased a lot of the romantic mystery about Rhett, but it did a poor job of keeping with his original characterization. I think it was written to "forgive" or "explain" Rhett's faults instead of upholding the aura that he was generally slightly dangerous, and a very masculine, brutal man of the era. I didn't like it at all, and I thought the ending betrayed the reader. Just a different opinion!
I can see where you’re coming from, and I feel the same way to a point. It casts him in a more modern light and tries to explain his later behavior, when probably in Mitchell’s mind (just my guess), he didn’t have these just reasons for his behavior. He really was just a cad most of the time, and as you said, a man of his times and position in life. I think your comment is definitely a reflection on the contrasting eras in which these two books were written. Good food for thought. When people ask for recs, though, I still recommend it over Scarlett, because Scarlett commits even greater sins in my opinion.