As a language (such as English) becomes more complex at least in its vocabulary part of its grammar goes direction simplification. Although I personally use and prefer British English I must admit that the American way of seeing such nouns as singular is gaining more currency maybe partly because of American dominance. I do think making a distinction between a family as a unit (singular) or seen as group of individuals (plural) is either no more relevant or will not be relevant or needed anymore. Languages satisfy needs.
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