It's worth pointing out that where I live (a major east coast city) the vast majority of the homeless population seem to have drug, social and/or mental problems, ranging from obviously but mild to incredibly severe. Of course this data is somewhat anecdotal but I have enough friends who are social workers to feel relatively confident about it. There doesn't seem to be a large class of people making strategic plans to beg based on expected return.
For reference, I don't give money to beggars (due to concerns about how that money will be used), but I do try to give food to beggars, and I support tax money being used for public health projects. I guess this exposes me as someone who supports interventionist social policies in some cases.
This agrees with my personal experience--that most or all human interaction seems to be permeated by status signaling and other social games. I imagine this is true in most social mammals based on the animal behavior stuff I've read. I find this to be a great aid in arguing effectively.
I want to write a longer comment tying this to personal observations on effective communication, persuasion, etc. but I'm at work. Also many readers probably already have a lot of similar (and possibly more cogent) thoughts on the topic.
I'm not sure Eliezer qualifies as an "overly sensitive member of a minority group" but I take your point. I think he's making a pragmatic decision but we can disagree.
In this particular case, I think Eliezer is arguing that the hypothetical woman who thinks all evolutionary psychology discussions are sexist is not a rationalist. As such she has no rationalist honor and would probably not respond as you (being a male rationalist) would. I think it's fair to give her (as a female assumed-non-rationalist) a little breathing room, which is what I think Eliezer is suggesting.
I think this is consistent with his narrative of trying to recruit/grow the rationalist pool, and as such trying to be more tolerant/welcoming of people who may not yet be rationalists but are interested and learning.
Why do you think the comment bothers you?