FWIW, I definitely agree that it is far better to make your text fit the quote than to use brackets to make the quote fit your text, and I also agree that brackets should never be used in a way that changes the substantive meaning of the quote, even subtly. When it comes to addressing an error in the original (as opposed to adapting text to fit one’s purposes), I only use brackets to “fix” an error if there isn’t an effective way to quote around the error, if paraphrasing would be less effective than a quote, and if the error is so subtle that [sic] is not justified. As a practical matter, it is very rare for all of those things to be true.
Just a WAG, but I’m wondering if the use of brackets to address trivial grammatical or other errors is disproportionately used by lawyers (when engaging in formal legal writing).
The “blue book” (a widely respected guide as to how citations to court opinions and other materials should be made in court opinions) has a rule 5.2, which governs “alterations and quotations within quotations.” Sub (b) of that rule provides, “Omission of letters. Indicate the omission of letters from a common root word with empty brackets (’judgment’).” Under sub (c) it says “Mistakes in original. Significant mistakes in the original should be followed by “[sic]” and otherwise left as they appear in the original: ‘This list of statutes are [sic] necessarily incomplete.’” Depending on how broadly or narrowly one construes “significant mistakes”, there may or may not be a class of mistakes that don’t warrant a [sic] but that do necessitate that the writer do something to address the error.
On that note, I have gotten a clear message from judges (and others) at training seminars that judges strongly dislike the use of [sic] to call attention to trivial mistakes. The difficulty with this is that even if one knows that he or she is not using [sic] to childishly call attention to a minor but clear error, it is possible that a judge would interpret his or her use of [sic] that way. So, I wonder if the use of  to fix tiny mistakes has expanded, at least to a small degree, and at least among some lawyers, in direct response to [sic] becoming a somewhat tabooed usage. (But, again, I only use  if I have no realistic alternative to using it, and I almost always do have a better option.)