One practically imagines Umberto Eco noting that one tile does not fit the usual pattern and attempting to infer some message that the designer of the ill-fitting tile might have been trying to send to some observer eight centuries later.The trouble (if any) with "generalization" is that it connotes "relative frequency statement." But is there an adequate substitute for "generalization"? "Law-like statement"? Are all generalizations "like" natural laws? "Nomological construct"? Such a phrase is redolent of all the ugly academic language that causes nightmares and public scorn. "Principles"? This is too broad and fuzzy.
N.B. Scientists are not the only people who use complex theoretical constructs to draw inferences about the world. The difference between scientists and ordinary people with ordinary generalizations in their heads (and in their hearts?) may be mainly or only that (i) ordinary theoretical constructs are not usually (if ever) fully spelled out and (ii) ordinary theoretical constructs -- "generalizations" -- are not systematic in the way that principles in a scientific theory such as Newtonian mechanics are systematic (but this does not mean that "ordinary," or everyday, theoretical constructs are necessarily invalid or somehow "bad" -- because if that were the case most of us would have been dead long ago).