I can't recall ever hearing someone use the term "Nihonbeijin," and Googling for 日本米人 doesn't bring up any results for the term being used in Japanese writing either. Plugging 日本米人 into Google Translate does spit back "Japanese American," but I have a hunch that's simply the program trying to force fit a translation.
On the other hand, the term I usually hear used in Japan to refer to Japanese Americans is "Nikkei Amerikajin" (日系アメリカ人), which also has a page on Japanese Wikipedia.
Generally speaking, -jin is used to denote nationality, while -kei is used to show ethnicity. For example, as a Lebanese American, I'm "Arabiakei Amerikajin" (the one time I accidentally introduced myself as "Lebanon-jin) to the owner of a Lebanese restaurant in Tokyo, he immediately started speaking to me in Arabic). Ordinarily, this would make "Japanese American" "Nihonkei Amerikajin" in Japanese, but since "Nikkei" exists as a set term, it becomes "Nikkei Amerikajin.2
「I'm Nisei 二世 but at the time I didn't know that term.」
While I know Nisei is a common term among Japanese communities in the U.S., I don't think I've ever heard anyone in Japan use the term. On occasions when I use it when speaking in Japanese to people in Japan, I usually have to tack on an explanation, and Googling for the term in Japanese brings up multiple sources that mention using it to mean "ethnically Japanese" is something done in countries outside of Japan (i.e. people in Japan don't use Nisei to mean "Japanese").
The reason why is that technically Nisei just means "second-generation," so using it while talking to someone in Japan will have them wondering "Second-generation what?" And even if you explain that you're using it to mean you're ethnically Japanese, referring to yourself as Nisei would also imply that your parents were born and grew up in Japan. If, on the other hand, your grandparents were the last generation of your family to grow up in Japan, you'd be "Sansei," and the term changes again the farther back you go.
Of course, if you're speaking English and use the word Nisei, the fact that it's not an indigenous English word gives it a special, and Japanese, significance, and since most English speakers aren't versed in Japanese vocabulary for numbers, Nisei has become the catch-all term for "ethnically Japanese but not living in Japan." For people in Japan, though, Nisei doesn't have that connotation/expansion, which is why "Nikkei [country]-jin" is the more common term for Japanese speakers in Japan.
「someone told me the word I was looking for was Nihonbeijin 日本米人」
It's possible whoever told you that was mistaken. Linguistically, "Nihonbeijin" is a strange-sounding construct because it uses the full form for "Japanese" (Nihon) with the short form form for Amerika (bei). While that doesn't break any strict grammar rules, it's generally not done since it makes the phrase feel sort of unbalanced and unnatural.