The point of the tab key in the originals was to show me all the things on the screen that were small or hidden because my characters knew it was there. It wasn't my job to get a magnifying glass out to verify if those 5 pixels were an item or a rock. .
Look who never played original Baldur's Gate 1
Oh man, was that not always a thing? I've played it about 10 times throughout the years so I must have had mod that added it in way back. I know the mod that upgraded it to the BG2 engine had the tab highlighting. I must have scrubbed the original from my brain, the only time I can recall having trouble finding something from my original playthroughs was the tiny area you had to pop open to get Balduran's helm (whatever it was called).