Yes, this is true. Please don't make the mistake of thinking that the French 'passé composé' ( Il a donné) is the equivalent of the English present perfect ( He has given), and that the French 'passé simple' (Il donna) is the equivalent of the English past simple (He gave). The forms and even the names of these tenses would make you think that they are equivalents, but this is far from the case.
The passé composé is the form most used in spoken French, and in informal and neutral written French, to refer to past events. In most cases, it corresponds to both the present perfect and the past simple in English. So, the French phrase 'J'ai vu' would - in most cases - translate both 'I've seen' AND 'I saw'.
The passé simple, 'Je vis', is a formal construction only used in literary texts. It is never used in speech.