As Mecca is being/maybe used in negative connotation also in the English language, it is more suited and polite to use Makkah. Also the most correct transliteration of the arabic name is Makkah, while Mecca is far away from the actual Arabic word.
Those arguing against it, should just try to imagine how would they feel if someone pronounces name of their city entirely differently. For example London as Lenden or Paris as Poris .... Won't you feel offended/irritated on it?
So, please respect others also the same way.
Everyone should be culturally sensitive. When I was studying the US (for my masters) I wold seek the Professor's guidance about the appropriateness of a joke or humorous gesture lest it went against the American way which in spite of apparent liberal attitudes has its limits. Over the years inappropriate Western use of "mecca" as a common noun (e.G. Las Vegas in the mecca of gambling) has caused deep hurt to Muslims. It also reeks of colonial superiority complex ("We can call those buggers whatever we want"). Simply because a wrong use is familiar, convenient or has been going on for a long time does not. Make it right . Colonial spellings like Bombay and Madras or Peking have been modified and some countries do not even deliver mail to old addresses. As someone on this side of the debate has said, "Its their holy city and we should respect it."
I believe it is a sign of respect to spell it correctly as in Makkah. It is their Holy city no ours, we have no right to spell it as we see fit. We do not rename places in Egypt just because their spelling is too hard for us to comprehend or pronounce so why should Makkah be different?
Westerners should use the spelling Makkah instead of Mecca. I think it is probably spelled normally this way and will keep people from offending other cultures and other countries who hold a lot of meaning to the word. I do not think it would be a big deal to change how we spell it.
There's nothing wrong with spelling words from different languages differently. If a westerner said that "Mecca" was the correct spelling and Makkah was wrong, then the westerner would be at fault. But spelling a word in a way that allows you to know how it's actually pronounced isn't insensitive in any way to Muslims. If I spelled Mecca "Makkah," then I would walk around pronouncing it Mahk-kuh instead of Mehk-kuh, so spelling it wrong allows people to pronounce it right. Americans are westerners, and they don't spell Brazil "Brasilia" even though that's the proper spelling. They don't even pronounce Paris "Pah-ree" which is the correct pronunciation. People - east, west, whatever - are going to spell words differently, and pronounce them differently too, because we don't all speak the same language. It's inevitable.
I am Muslim myself and I spell it "Mecca". It;s just a traditional English spelling. Spelling it "Makkah" or "Mecca" doesn't change anything. We all get the meaning, so I don't see what's the big deal. People concentrate way too much on little details rather than seeing the bigger picture.
I believe that the word Mecca is ingrained in Western society as the correct word to use, It would be very difficult to get people to call it something differently after it has been called Mecca for so long, so I think it would be pointless to get people to call it something else.
Just because a different language and a different group of people spell something differently, it doesn't mean that they are being wrong or insensitive. Part of speaking different languages is spelling and pronouncing words differently. If a group of people commonly decides how to spell a word, then that spelling is correct for that group of people.
Countries worldwide have for centuries used their own words and spellings for places in other parts of the world. These have often come about for interesting historical reasons, and add greatly the interest of languages and of traveling. There is no confusion, and forcing everyone to use the same name/spelling for every place in the world serves no purpose.
I do not believe Westerners should use the spelling 'Makkah' over 'Mecca.' Given the English language and in order for it to be pronounced correctly I see the spelling of 'Mecca' to be correct. 'Makkah' is pronounced much differently with the k's being so hard, that it doesn't represent what it should in context of the language.