Used before BC as ore and was used with copper also....
Zinc is natural material and by chemical process I thing it's easier to get.
The one problem pure zinc had was that over time it gets soft and brittle.
Why in 21 st century
Not like copper does not polite the soil with heavy particles-collecting water from copper roof for gardening N/a
Since early 1920 they combined zinc with titanium And Rhenzink is born
Cheaper than copper
Looks like lead coated cooper
Is great for environment, is recyclable
Have modern look- in 3 standard color with natural character and patina.
Broad range of applications and for building to possibly have only few elements ( gutters, siding- wall cladding, roof, flashing etc)
Easy to work with. Lasts longer than pre painted metal panels.