I've written HTML by hand, written JSP, used WYSIWYG editors and I've been on teams that used packages (JSF). I've actually liked any and all of them... although I frequently end up tossing WYSIWYG editors to the curb and just started editing by hand when doing straight HTML.
I think it's a factor of what you want to do:
JSF - and presumably other comprehensive libraries - was great for very complex web data structures. After using it, I would not want to write dynamic trees, complex tables with nested form controls, pop-up menus or other high end HTML by hand. It fit nicely into my JEE MVC architecture with its myriad types of injection, and I think it saved me a lot of time in user interface widgets. The fact that we could crack the code, too, and go in and customize some things was an absolute life saver. The major drawback - when you need to speed up your server you will end up cracking the cover quite a lot and wondering how much you saved. We had a really data-heavy system, complex connections, lots of data, and a strong need for pagination and sorting. That worked in JSF, but we ended up overwriting quite a few things to make the system work efficiently.
JSP - and presumably other dynamic presentation mechanisms (like ASP) - really great when you need a simpler dynamic presentation form. Fast and easy to code with and able to do a nice collection of dynamic things. The challenge - building in the connection between HTML display and dynamic processing is a learning curve that is different from writing in a OO language and different from straight HTML. It can get exhausting to mentally switch between HTML/CSS thinking, JSP, and Java - and you have to. JSF will let you be fairly blind to HTML and CSS unless you're doing something tricky. JSP will not. Also, it puts the burden for session continuity on you, unless you've hunted down some open source to do it for you.
I disagree that a simplistic dynamic HTML rendering solution (like JSP) can't scale. I think you need to be clever - building pages for specialized areas (like a menu JSP for navigation), using div tags for layout, etc. And I think you need to commit yourself to becoming good at refactoring.
From JSP to something more complex that does more construction for you - I think the key to happiness is finding a library that has what you need for display. Start with some screen shots and see what libraries come close to your purposes. Also, look for libraries that will play well with other mechanisms and you'll have the best of both worlds. I don't think that's beyond reach.