PT did have MIDI capabilities way before PT8. But those MIDI capabilities (especially sequencing-related) were famously incredibly mediocre. It was laughable. At least, compared to Logic and Digital Performer.
Indeed it was since around version 8 that Digidesign began to pay attention to MIDI-related features in general (including adding VIs, like brandonamatias points out.)
PT forte had always been audio editing. But nowadays all major DAWs are pretty capable in all regards.
Thank you TheRedGiant for clearing that up!