And people do NOT use the term "our husbands, father, and sons" in discussions about equal treatment of men. Those kinds of comments about men are almost exclusively used in discussions of war where the attempt is being made, specifically, to humanize the soldiers who die in war. It's not really comparable because it has a different goal. It isn't used as a replacement of the term "men", it is used as a replacement of the word "soldiers". "Men" is far more humanizing than soldiers is.
Obama used wives, mothers, and daughters to replace the word "women". It wasn't done to humanize women in the workforce, it was used to appeal to the emotions of those who would subjugate them, and as such, he was, inadvertently, lowering himself to their level. You yourself have made note of that, so there's no point in backtracking now by pointing out that there was no necessity for men to be present in any of the relationships described. The fact of the matter is that it was an attempt to appeal to the emotions of men, and as such, the words were intended to define women by their relationships to men.
Now, do I think it was petition-worthy? No, not at all. Do I think that it eradicates the value of his other comments? Absolutely not.
Do I think that it acts as a convenient means to engage in a legitimate discussion about the way that language affects inequality? Most certainly.