Hopes are high ahead of Euro 2016 as Roy Hodgson's men look to give England a first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup.
Sterling, sidelined for six weeks with a groin injury, said his generation needed to win a trophy to justify any labels.
"We've got a lot of young players who are doing well, but we are still developing as a squad, and calling us a golden generation would be wrong," he told The Mirror.
"The potential is there, but I don't see the point of putting extra pressure on players by building them up into something they aren't.
"Expectations become unrealistic. And, if they aren't successful, it is somehow turned into how they have let the country down.
"The golden generation label sounds good.
"But the only golden generation England have ever had was the team that actually won the World Cup. They were winners."
Sterling suffered his groin injury in City's 1-0 Manchester derby loss to United on Sunday.
The 21-year-old has no doubt he will be fit and ready for the Euros, which begin on June 10.
"I'm disappointed to be injured and obviously it's going to be really difficult missing the Champions League," Sterling said.
"But I hope to be back as soon as possible and I know I'll be fine for the Euros."