This wiring is called “modern” because Fender began using it in the 1980s, as opposed to the 1950s. The original Stratocaster wiring had a master volume control, a tone control for the neck pickup, and a tone control for the middle pickup. There was no tone control for the bridge pickup, since it was assumed that a player would preset his two rhythm settings (neck and middle pickups), but that the lead setting (bridge pickup) need not be adjustable, but should be “wide open” for maximum brilliance. Remember that during those early years, Fender never supported a 5-way switch. All Stratocasters from 1954 until 1977 shipped with a 3-way switch.
In later years, Fender made some changes to the wiring to meet player demands. These included attaching the bridge pickup to the bottom tone control, a no-brainer for many players who felt that if any pickup should allow for some treble roll-off, it was the bridge pickup. Also, the capacitor value on the tone control was changed to .022µF, which means that the tone controls provided less extreme tonal shifts than when a heavier cap was used (the earliest Strats came with a .1µF cap, which produced a very substantial tonal shift as the tone controls were adjusted; this value was changed to .047µF in the early 1960s).