Depending on which normative system you adopt the statements like “He is a moral person” or “In that situation that was the moral thing to do” will have different content, since what is moral is different in different normative systems.
That being said then when looking at ordinary language usage by non-philosophers in everyday life situations I would claim (at least based on my experience) that people tend to use the term “moral person” or “a moral deed” in some sense with a universal meaning, just as if the term would refer to the same kind of people or deeds.
Could you please care to speculate on why this is so? Is it only that people are careless or uninformed or might it be that there really are some “universally moral” things and people want to refer to them or is it just the particular culture they happen to live in? Or something else?
Some systems of rules and codes of conduct are arbitrary. In Canadian football, it's 3 downs; in the USA it's 4. There's no question of which is really right, and if the CFL or the NFL decided to change its rules, no one could object that the proposed new rules were wrong. Likewise, a fraternity might have a secret handshake, and members of the fraternity might make it a rule to greet one another that way. But they could do away with the rule or change the handshake and once again, no one could say that they had somehow gotten things objectively wrong. It's part of the way that we use moral terms, however, that when we make a moral claim, we intend the claim to be universal. It's part of the concept of morality that something could be part ofsomeone's "moral code" or "system of morality" and yet be morallywrong. If someone says "It's wrong to keep slaves" they mean that it's wrong whether or not the slaveholder agrees, and whether or not the particular group or culture that may be at issue has a ...