Deprecation of methods is an interesting thing. Developers deprecate methods when they are no longer important/useful, and probably should be removed from the API, but they typically do not right away, as to attempt to prevent breaking backward compatibility for applications that may already be implementing these API's. But they also sometimes DO remove them at a later date.
Usually, when a method is deprecated, there is a new way to do the same thing, and I believe your case has another solution implemented a little bit differently.
Have you tried MapView.setBuiltInZoomControls(boolean)? I believe that is what is meant to replace the deprecated method which you are speaking of.