Address Windowing Extensions (AWE) does not require PAE. I don't know why some people claim that it does, since it is so easy to demonstrate otherwise.
Take a program that uses AWE. If you don't have one handy, you can use the one that comes in MSDN as a sample program that demonstrates how to use AWE. Grant yourself "Lock Pages in Memory" privileges and run the program. Observe that it works.
Now remove the /PAE switch from your boot.ini, reboot, and run the program again. Observe that it still works.
Myth disproved by direct experimentation and observation.