This lens is a good for 'general' photography as any of the other Zuiko 50 mm lenses. Just a little bit slower.
Yes, it has a built-in hood. That's due to the extension (i.e. the length of tube in the focussing mount), perhaps, they had to stow away somewhere when not used (i.e. at infinity).
Not significant, not saying anything about it being vastly different.
The difference in general between macro lenses and 'regular' lenses is the flat field and optimisation for close range work. But they generally are great for long range work too. The double Gauss derivative type used in these lenses is little scale sensitive, and non-macro lenses of this type are great in the close-up range as well.
This particular lens is really very good. You'll enjoy the results!