Material damage in structural components is driven by microstructural evolution that occurs at low length scales and begins early in component life. In metals, these microstructural features are known to cause measurable changes in the acoustic nonlinearity parameter. Physically, the interaction of a monochromatic ultrasonic wave with microstructural features such as dislocations, precipitates, and vacancies, generates a second harmonic wave that is proportional to the acoustic nonlinearity parameter. These nonlinear ultrasonic techniques thus have the capability to evaluate initial material damage, particularly before crack initiation and propagation occur. This paper discusses how the nonlinear ultrasonic technique of second harmonic generation can be used as a nondestructive evaluation tool to monitor microstructural changes in steel, focusing on characterizing neutron radiation embrittlement in nuclear reactor pressure vessel steels. Current experimental evidence and analytical models linking microstructural evolution with changes in the acoustic nonlinearity parameter are summarized.