My usual way of sharpening might be too crisp for portraiture. This page looks at the qualitative aspects of varying the amount of sharpening.
My usual way of sharpening also emphasizes noise, creating a slightly graininess (which is not necessarily a negative, at least not if kept within bounds).
Dialing down the sharpening is appropriate for a variety of purposes, including portraiture, or a “master image” intended to be sharpened more later, e.g., prior to printing.
Some sharpening is needed for digital
The idea of using no sharpening for RAW conversion is a faulty premise; the digital capture means that natural accutance (edge sharpness) is lost; some of that must be restored for a proper result. Film has this built-in; digital has discrete sampling which blurs edges.
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