Ok, I will give a detailed answer, which hopefully will also clear some misconceptions about previous versions "working" without having to remove the lockscreen protection.
1. If you want access to the data partition or the internal storage in recovery mode, you will have to remove your lockscreen protection before booting to recovery.
2. If all that you want to do is to flash a ROM and then reboot to Android, then you won't normally need access to the internal storage (unless that is where your ROM zip file is located). You can just bypass the password prompt in recovery by pressing the back key. But then you will only be able to flash ROM zips from your MicroSD card or via adb sideload.
3. If a previous version of the recovery allowed you to access your internal storage without actually decrypting the data partition, then you should consider that a bug. I realise that many people see it as a feature. But it is a bug (because people shouldn't be able to access the internal storage without decrypting the data partition), and that bug has now been fixed.
I hope that this clarifies everything.
That makes perfect sense now, thank you. I always flash ROM updates from my external SD card so that should fine