It is commonly accepted that Pareto-based evolutionary multiobjective optimization (EMO) algorithms encounter difficulties in dealing with many-objective problems. In these algorithms, the ineffectiveness of the Pareto dominance relation for a high-dimensional space leads diversity maintenance mechanisms to play the leading role during the evolutionary process, while the preference of diversity maintenance mechanisms for individuals in sparse regions results in the final solutions distributed widely over the objective space but distant from the desired Pareto front. Intuitively, there are two ways to address this problem: 1) modifying the Pareto dominance relation and 2) modifying the diversity maintenance mechanism in the algorithm. In this paper, we focus on the latter and propose a shift-based density estimation (SDE) strategy. The aim of our study is to develop a general modification of density estimation in order to make Pareto-based algorithms suitable for many-objective optimization. In contrast to traditional density estimation that only involves the distribution of individuals in the population, SDE covers both the distribution and convergence information of individuals. The application of SDE in three popular Pareto-based algorithms demonstrates its usefulness in handling many-objective problems. Moreover, an extensive comparison with five state-of-the-art EMO algorithms reveals its competitiveness in balancing convergence and diversity of solutions. These findings not only show that SDE is a good alternative to tackle many-objective problems, but also present a general extension of Pareto-based algorithms in many-objective optimization.