I just got back some feedback on a piece of work of mine from a proofreader. One of his comments is that I use like in similes a lot, and I shouldn't do that --- I should be using as if instead; he says that like most accurately means is similar to. For example, in this phrase I used:
It accelerated away like a bullet down the barrel of a gun.
I've never come across this before. I know that my proofreader speaks fairly old-fashioned British English, and I speak fairly modern British English, and as far as I'm aware, like is perfectly acceptable here. But I'm not aware that it was ever not acceptable (in relatively recent times).
Can anyone find my a reference for what he's talking about here? Some basic searching doesn't come up with anything, but like is practically ungoogleable.