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In general "this/these" is used when describing objects relatively near to you and "that/those" is used to describe objects more far away. In plural form you also have to differentiate between personal and non-personal masculine. Here are the different cases:
Ten (masc.), ta (fem.), to (neutr.) = "this"
Tamten (masc.), Tamta (fem.), Tamto (neutr.) = "that"
Ci (only personal-masc.), te (fem., neutr. & non-personal masc.) = "these"
Tamci (only personal-masc.), Tamte (fem., neutr. & non-personal masc.) = "those"
"ci" is palatalized, it's softened. 'c' here is not really the same sound as the 'c' in 'co'.
Listen to "C Ć=CI CZ" in section 2 here: http://popolskupopolsce.edu.pl/lekcja/1/MAZOWIECKIE
In plural there is no masculine/feminine/neuter distinction anymore, but a virile/nonvirile distinction. A synonym for virile is 'masculine personal', in other words, 'a group of people with at least one male person in it'. A second criterion for a noun being virile is that its singular form, here: człowiek (irregular), must be masculine.
Ludzie is by default virile (masculine personal), because if the group were women-only, then you'd just say women (kobiety).
You're right, it's not explicitly stated, but it's implied. That's what I wanted to convey with the second paragraph, by saying "it's virile by default".
Note that the comment you are referring to is inaccurate. It shouldn't say 'masculine plural', but 'masculine personal', or 'virile'.