@zeus, I understand what you mean. But I don't think there would be any harm in doing so. Either, he gets confirmation that the site is under-penalty, or he gets an automated-reply saying there's no manual action.
If your point is about trying to stay "under-the-radar", then the automated reply won't cause him to be noticed. If he is in fact penalized, there's no use trying to hide.
My feeling is that if your site can't stand up to manual scrutiny by a Google Human, then eventually one of the Google Animals will get you algorithmically. Just get it out of the way, rather waiting 18 or 16 months doing nothing but hoping.