Wouldn't it be more consistent if one of these always worked?
Yes it would be more consistent. This has nothing to do with cross-platform and everything to do with developers not writing (wanting to write) documentation. a
man page is documentation,
--help is mostly programming in nature. I've also seen the case where man pages didn't exist because the developer didn't know how to make one, or convert the documentation from another format, sometimes this is easily remedied.
I would like to note that I wish both always worked.
I agree with xenoterracide - both would be nice...
--help to report functionality and options real short.
info...) to describe in detail what was previously reported by
--help, maybe provide some examples, background etc.
Some people do not like man pages, and write info files instead (notably GNU).