There is a discussion here: http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/ac_world_volt_freq.htm
Tesla, working at Westinghouse, in the 1890's designed some of the first electrical generators, and determined that 60Hz was an efficient voltage.
This system was used in other countries, but German engineers dominated Europe, and they decided that 50Hz was a better fit for the Metric system.
Thinking of 50Hz as Metric-friendly is pretty silly, because all of the other time units are not Metric. Hertz is based on seconds, and there's 60 of them in an minute, not 50. It also influenced television frequencies, where it turns out that 50Hz is barely sufficient, and 60Hz reduces eye strain.
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