That is, you do not take into account the cultural and external characteristics of races? Or do you just think that in order to make a fantasy race different from humans, you need to make it as strange and alien as possible? Perhaps I misunderstood your idea, but it seems to me that with such a logic, all fantasy races, from trolls to yugoloths, can be called "people".
I'd expect an alien to differ in not just looks, but also their lifestyle, culture, behavior, means of communication, how they perceive the world, how they interact, etc. All this all should be shaped by their biological characteristics. Even if they are just imaginary.