I'm looking for the CF2016 versions of those documents, and I don't see them anywhere. There's an Archive with links to all the older versions, but no equivalent for CF2016. Somehow I did get a file called coldfusion_2016_cfml_ref.pdf but it's a stub, containing web links instead of documentation for tags and functions.
Did they give up on producing an actual manual? Do I have to rely on flaky web searches instead of having a fast, reliable, searchable-on-my-own-terms, local copy? Or did I just miss the link to place where the real documentation is kept?
They gave up on creating a PDF...not on "producing an actual manual". The docs do remain and are updated, and would be a few thousand pages if printed, across several CF docs. (See my post on that, Did you know there’s far more to the CF docs than just the CFML Reference?, in the Adobe community blog.)
But yes, to your main point, as of CF2016 they stopped creating the PDFs. I and others have pleaded with them, and we are told that there are plans to bring them back...as well as to improve the (mostly horrid) experience of using the web UI.
The problem, as I understand it, is that Adobe corporate mandated that all products use the web platform that the docs are currently served through. The problem was that the CF docs are so deep and rich, often with 30 pages of discussion in several sections and subsections on a single topic in the "Developing ColdFusion Applications" manual. But the system wasn't designed for that sort of depth, so both the web UI and the PDF generation mechanism from it only goes a couple of levels down.
They can't seem to change the tool, and so it seems they need to re-work the docs to fit that mandate. That's a big task. My understanding is that its among various things that are having to wait until more resources are available post CF2018. But even then, I have my doubts it will happen. Let's keep hope alive.
And of course I'm open to being corrected if anyone knows otherwise.