I use this technique frequently, and especially where there is a wide range of skin tones, such as in this shot near Cape Town, where the waiter’s face is too dark and his uniform top is too white. The camera does not have the dynamic range of the eye so it necessary to expand what the camera can see to bring it closer to what the eye may see.
Q. Is the photographer’s selective adjustment acceptable?
A. Yes. If not you could not make out the waiter’s features as you could in real life. If your eye can see it then why shouldn’t you process the image until it more closely matches what you saw?