You are correct in the LTE doesn;t refer to a specfic technology and in fact LTE-A (LTE-Advanced) is soon to hit deployment. LTE-A refers to many things as well. That the marketers call 4G is in fact an enhanced 3G. The real 4G will be LTE-A.
This is an interesting discussion. These 1G 2G 3G terms are so generalized that they do not exactly convey the kind of enhancement that has happened between them. (BTW my family doctor while prescribing a diabetic medicine for me wrote Gluconorm 3G instead of writing Gluconorm G3 and the chemist had a hearty laugh reading it saying , my doctor had got it all mixed up with with the internet speed!)
Even the word LTE has me confused about what could be its actual long form - actually the Long Term Evolution does not convey anything about the underlying technology, network speed or network topology.
For Ethernet speeds we had the terminology starting with 10mpbs then 10/100 and then 100mbps . I am not tracking the current Ethernet speeds but they must have now reached G levels.
So how about naming these mobile communications evolutions as per their speeds like the Ethernet, instead of just naming as first, second, third , fifth generation.
By associating the speed , we can get exact idea how improved it is from the earlier generation.