Ok, thank you, that clears up a lot.
Allow me to quote myself here.
(I'll note here that that may not have been the best choice of words.)
Meaning inorganic. No fleshy bits to speak of.
A Cybertronian is about as alive as a mechanical thing can get. They have a spark which is pretty much the mind/soul of a transformer. Remove the spark, and all you're left with is a dead, mechanical shell.
Heroes (to my knowledge) are relatively the same. The primary difference being that their "soul" is a glowing orange rock as opposed to a fragment of their god's own "soul".
A few things you said in the initial post caught my attention.
These people may be speaking from a physical point of view, and if that is the case, then yes, Heroes are just sentient robots.
Look at your arm. Go ahead, I'll wait.
Now, did your arm have the appearance of being entirely made of metal? Is it moved by hydraulic pistons? If it gets hacked off will you feel nothing?
Heroes are nothing like humans, biologically speaking.
You can argue the semantics of "Oh, they're sentient, like humans." "No they're not." all day, but an HF Hero is not an organic being. Ergo, they are not "like humans".
True, but even as soulless nanomachines, they still possessed organic components, and those organic components had to be (biologically) alive in order to exist.