Helm was meant to be the package manager for Kubernetes. One common problem for package managers is “how do I find my packages?” Many package systems opt for having a default central repository for stuff. Distros have their central repos for apt. Programming languages too: for Node it’s npm, for Ruby it’s RubyGems, for Java it’s Maven central, for Clojure it’s Clojars. Of course most if not all systems have a way to add other package repositories or at least some other means to pull in dependencies (referencing git commits for example).

For Helm the central repository of charts/stable used to be the obvious default. You can of course add other repositories too, but defaults are powerful and many people will just give up if something is not available in the default source. On the other hand, having everything in one place puts a huge burden on the maintainers of that one place, as was the case of charts/stable. So they deprecated it.