Elves make excellent rangers (and rogues, and these days, wizards).
So do half-elves, which add barsd to that list.
Dwarves (blast their beards!) make excellent fighters.
This means that in a given 1e-or-later adventuring party, you’re likely to have a polylingual group of Middle-Earthlungs, thrown together for adventure, etc etc.
Let’s say character race wasn’t an open slot on your character sheet, but instead cost some other choice: it was tuned to be equivalent to a feat or two, or counted as your first level (in lieu of a different character class), or was phrased as a 0-sum choice you could layer on top of a character but without a reserved slot on the sheet, a permanent reminder that Thou Shalt Select The Most Appropriate Race.
I think we’d see elves selected by players that wanted a connection to nature or to magic; halflings by gluttons; dwarves by munchkins.
And humans would truly be the default, adaptable race; they’d have those extra feat slots, character levels, or whatever.
I’d like that world; the current setup makes the fantastic mundane, and that’s a shame.