The Buddha indeed spoke of people or individuals, for example, in AN 4.98:
“Mendicants, these four people are found in the world.
“Cattārome, bhikkhave, puggalā santo saṃvijjamānā lokasmiṃ.
Puggala means individual or person.
Your question is different from this other question. The other question asks about the Buddha saying "I am the unexcelled teacher" - would that be considered as having identity view or conceit.
Your question is about the Buddha referring to a person or individual or self.
Does a self not exist at all? That's not what the Buddha says.
In the Attakari Sutta (AN 6.38), he says:
“So, brahmin, when there is the element of endeavoring, endeavoring
beings are clearly discerned; of such beings, this is the self-doer,
this, the other-doer. I have not, brahmin, seen or heard such a
doctrine, such a view as yours. How, indeed, could one — moving
forward by himself, moving back by himself — say ‘There is no
self-doer, there is no other-doer’?”
So, there are individuals. There is such a thing as a self.
On the other hand, the Buddha also says in SN 12.12:
“Venerable sir, who craves?”
“Not a valid question,” the Blessed One replied. “I do not say, ‘One
craves.’ If I should say, ‘One craves,’ in that case this would be a
valid question: ‘Venerable sir, who craves?’ But I do not speak thus.
Since I do not speak thus, if one should ask me, ‘Venerable sir, with
what as condition does craving come to be?’ this would be a valid
question. To this the valid answer is: ‘With feeling as condition,
craving comes to be; with craving as condition, clinging; with
clinging as condition, existence…. Such is the origin of this whole
mass of suffering.’
So, how can we understand this? The Buddha says on the one hand that there is a self-doer, that is an endeavoring being, who moves himself forth and back at will. But on the other hand, when it comes to explaining dependent origination, the Buddha prefers not to speak of a self, but rather speak of the 12 links of dependent origination. There is no suffering person, but there is simply suffering.
The Acela Sutta (SN 12.17) says (paraphrased here):
Again, when the Buddha was asked by the naked ascetic Kassapa whether
suffering was of one's own making or of another's or both or neither,
the Buddha replied "Do not put it like that." When asked whether there
was no suffering or whether the Buddha neither knew nor saw it, the
Buddha replied that there was, and that he both knew and saw it. He
then said "Kassapa, if one asserts that 'He who makes (it) feels (it):
being one existent from the beginning, his suffering is of his own
making,' then one arrives at eternalism. But if one asserts that one
makes (it), another feels (it); being one existent crushed out by
feeling, his suffering is of another's making,' then one arrives at
annihilationism. Instead of resorting to either extreme a Tathaagata
teaches the Dhamma by the middle way (by dependent origination)"
So, this is an important principle in Buddhism. If you say there is no self, no being at all, then that is annihilationism. If you say there is an eternal being at the core of every person, that is eternalism. Both are to be avoided.
The self is existent. However, it is not permanent or eternal or standalone. This is explained using the vina or lute analogy in the Vina Sutta (SN 35.205).
"Suppose there were a king or king's minister who had never heard the
sound of a lute before. He might hear the sound of a lute and say,
'What, my good men, is that sound — so delightful, so tantalizing, so
intoxicating, so ravishing, so enthralling?' They would say, 'That,
sire, is called a lute, whose sound is so delightful, so tantalizing,
so intoxicating, so ravishing, so enthralling.' Then he would say, 'Go
& fetch me that lute.' They would fetch the lute and say, 'Here, sire,
is the lute whose sound is so delightful, so tantalizing, so
intoxicating, so ravishing, so enthralling.' He would say, 'Enough of
your lute. Fetch me just the sound.' Then they would say, 'This lute,
sire, is made of numerous components, a great many components. It's
through the activity of numerous components that it sounds: that is,
in dependence on the body, the skin, the neck, the frame, the strings,
the bridge, and the appropriate human effort. Thus it is that this
lute — made of numerous components, a great many components — sounds
through the activity of numerous components.'
"Then the king would split the lute into ten pieces, a hundred pieces.
Having split the lute into ten pieces, a hundred pieces, he would
shave it to splinters. Having shaved it to splinters, he would burn it
in a fire. Having burned it in a fire, he would reduce it to ashes.
Having reduced it to ashes, he would winnow it before a high wind or
let it be washed away by a swift-flowing stream. He would then say, 'A
sorry thing, this lute — whatever a lute may be — by which people have
been so thoroughly tricked & deceived.'
"In the same way, a monk investigates form, however far form may go.
He investigates feeling... perception... fabrications...
consciousness, however far consciousness may go. As he is
investigating form... feeling... perception... fabrications...
consciousness, however far consciousness may go, any thoughts of 'me'
or 'mine' or 'I am' do not occur to him."
Just as music arises from the inter-working of the different parts of a vina or lute, similarly, the self is like a piece of entertaining music which arises when the orchestra of the five aggregates are playing.
The only way self is related to suffering is according to Yamaka Sutta (SN 22.85):
"In the same way, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no
regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their
Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or
disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form (the body) to be the self,
or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as
in form. (and the same applies to the other aggregates)
So, when we read the suttas, we need to understand the context of it. Is the Buddha speaking of beings who do exist in a conventional sense? Or is he digging into the nature of suffering and speaking of dependent origination?