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I mean our character has never spoke a word since Gen I.

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Well first I'd like to say that the player isn't ALWAYS silent in every game, there are a few spinoff games that have player dialogue, anyway...

Would you like it if a little annoying robot talked to everyone for you, constantly saying things you wouldn't want to say? Well there's your answer right there. Occasionally NPC will respond as if you did actually say something, but in all honestly you really did since you pushed A in front of them.
The players can't talk because they're you. I'd find it very annoying if the gamer constantly made me say idiotic things and things I wasn't even thinking of. Luckily, as every Pokemon game advances they get better and better at getting you to "communicate" with NPC in a more proper way.

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Yeah, I remembered Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Red Rescue Team had a choice for me to saysomething when some Gengar said we were cursed. The options? '...' and '..............'.
I was annoyed by how the player character was talking in Mystery Dungeon GTI
GTI was fine, just that the dialogues were ridiculously long..
Yh, and, worst part was, YOU COULDN'T SKIP A SINGLE BIT OF IT. So you had to sit and scroll through what seemed like 10 pages of dialogue.