You say that you have trouble "sugar coating things"...it could be that the way you are phrasing things comes across as a little more harsh or judgemental that you mean for it to. I am not saying that it is all YOUR fault, but especially when you are dealing with just the written word and don't have tone of voice or facial expressions to help out, it is easy to mis-interpret what someone is meaning online.
I do agree with you that your years of experience ( and the generation that you come from) might have a lot to do with your perception of things!! I cannot imagine someone who truly cares for the people they are working with, complaining because someone is a few minutes late because of a temporary problem that is out of their control!! If it was a habitual thing, with no logical reason behind it, then you could see that they would have a reason to be upset.
As to the easily offended people...don't let it worry you too much, handle it the same way that you would handle someone in "real life" that is easily offended...apologize and move on.