How about this:
In some English dialects the h's are more or less random anyway. Let's ignore them and write [h] at the beginning of every English pronoun that starts with h or a vowel.
- [h]e = [h]ij
- she = zij
- we = wij
- [h]it = het
- [h]im = hem
- them = hen/hun (the only tricky one!)
So, if you know that it=het, then very obviously him=hem. This leaves only them for pairing with hen/hun. The reason this pairing is much less obvious is that these words are not actually cognates. Rather, them is a cognate of old-fashioned Dutch den, as in Den Haag, and of German den/dem.
I think the issue is that while in English m and n are different sounds, it's practically never necessary to distinguish them in order to understand what exactly is being said. There are of course words where it makes a difference (e.g. then vs. them, hen vs. hem, Hun vs. hum, Norse vs. Morse), but these words are always so different that in context there can be no doubt which one is meant even if it's pronounced with the wrong consonant.
As hearing the difference is not important for understanding spoken English, it makes sense if some native speakers of English treat the two as equivalent. I would actually expect this to happen with many people whose parents barely distinguish between the two sounds in their pronunciation.
When 'houden van' is used with a specific person (or more persons) as the object, the meaning is most likely 'to love'.
Technically it's probably not wrong to translate 'to like someone' as 'houden van iemand', but it just sounds a bit weird... (because 'houden van' has the love connotation).
An exception would be when you're referring to non-specific persons: 'wij houden van artiesten': 'we like artists' (the love connotation is not present there).
The same goes with an animal as the object:
- Specific: 'Wij houden van onze hond': 'we love our dog'.
- Non-specific: 'Wij houden van honden': 'we like dogs'.
When 'houden van' is used with something inanimate as the object, it means 'to like': 'Wij houden van kaas': 'we like cheese'.