Before you tell me, yes, I'm aware CPU mining is dead in 2021 and attempting to do so will likely just burn CPU time for no good reason.
However, my question is not whether mining is feasible, but whether it is possible with the (currently) latest version of Bitcoin Core, v0.21.1. From my understanding, it was possible in 2016, but the internal miner was "removed" in v0.13.0. Looking at the code, it's unclear to me whether it's still possible; miner.cpp is still present, for example. All that seems to remain is the "-generate" option. Does this option actually allow mining on mainnet?
If the answer is no: Isn't Bitcoin Core meant to be the reference implementation of Bitcoin? And given that, isn't it a bit odd that the reference implementation does contain one of the core components of Bitcoin, that is, the mining system? I understand it's pointless to do so, but as the reference implementation, shouldn't Bitcoin Core provide this feature regardless?