Merriman Webster online says, “First Known Use: 1982”. Really? It’s that recent? I would have thought from the 1950s.
OED’s earliest cite is 1983, the form of which is suggestive of a recent and not-yet-familiar term.
1983 Santa-Barbara (Calif.) News-Press 14 July b9/1 He could also be a memorabilia nut who has nothing to do with the real world—we call them ‘propellor-heads’.
As is the next cite:
1986 Dun’s Business Month (Nexis) Mar. 56 The image of the contract worker is of a ‘propeller head’, as they’re called at Lotus.
I certainly don’t remember it from my youth, and I can well believe it didn’t come into use until I was in my thirties (as the citation dates suggest).