I think the problem is that people often confuse “kanji reading” AS “vocabulary meaning”. The “reading” of a Kanji is not what it means, it’s how you say it, it’s pronunciation. The kanji 人 has a few different readings (pronounciations): にん、じん、ひと、びと
But the word that 人 stands for when it is alone is person, ひと.
If I type にん in a computer, the computer will try to supply me with a word, so
にん becomes 任’: obligation, duty, charge, responsibility
じん becomes 陣: battle formation, camp, group, war, battle
びと becomes 美と: the kanji is the word “bi”, beauty, and it gave me hiragana “to” because there is no Japanese word that is “bito” (except for katakana ビット, which is computer bit, but even then it’s not written as “bito”(
BUT, ひと will always, automatically, become 人, because ひと is the word for person.
If thinking of it as pronounciation isn’t helpful, then think of kanji readings as puzzle pieces. You need to know the right puzzle piece that creates a word:
人工’s puzzle piece is じん. This word, jinkou, artificial, can only be represented with two kanji.
人間’s puzzle piece is にん. This word, ningen, human, can only be represented with two kanji.
村人’s puzzle piece is びと. This word, murabito, villager, can only be represented with two kanji.
EDIT:: TL;DR Kanji is just visual shorthand for real Japanese words, and represents the sound of Japanese words. Kanji is pretty much written emoji.