PCI Exp / 2.0 / 3.0 Backwards Compatabile?

Ok so I'm trying to help a friend of mine get a better grahpic card, he's currently using an Asus eah5450 which is basically a really crappy old Ati HD5450 that is only ddr3, 1 gig. Trying to run FTB mod pack for minecraft he says it's really laggy to the point of unplayability, which given his i5 2310 cpu and 6 gigs of ram makes me think it's almost certainly that grahpic card not being powerful enough.

The ones I'm looking at in his price range like the 7750, which is quite a step up imo, along with some others are all PCI Exp 3.0 cards. If his motherboard is only PCI Exp or PCI Exp 2.0 will a PCI 3.0 card work at all or not? I mean the port is physically the same size and everything, so it would plug in, but will it not work right or cause problems or anything?

I've never upgraded a graphic card since these 2.0 and 3.0 things came out, I'm still using my evga gtx580 which I made sure matched with the motherboard I bought, so I'm abit clueless in this department. Any help would be much appriciated!

As far as I know the PCIe 3.0 cards are backwards compatible. I had a system with only 1 PCIe 2.0 x16 slot and a PCIe 3.0 card and it worked. PCIe 1 is another story but as long as it is a x8 or x16 (what the card needs) it should be fine.

Yes, they are.