The specific term you are looking for is "word embedding" and not just "embedding".
How to numerically represent textual data?
Neural networks (typically) require as inputs (and produce as outputs) numerical data (i.e. numbers, vectors, matrices, or higher-dimensional arrays). So, when processing textual data, we first need to encode (or convert) the text into a numerical representation. There are different ways to do it, such as
one-hot encoding (in that case, if you have 70000 words, you would have sparse vectors with 70000 entries where only one of those entries is equal to $1$ and all other entries are $0$: see this article for more info)
map each word to a number (in this case, you would have 70000 numbers, one for each word)
Each of these representations has different benefits and drawbacks. For instance, if you map each word to a number, then you just need to keep track of $70000$ numbers. In the case of one-hot encoding or word embeddings, you will need more memory. However, nowadays, word embeddings are widely used in natural language processing/understanding/generation tasks (and given that your question is about word embeddings), so let me briefly describe them.
There are different word embedding techniques (such as word2vec). However, they are all based on the same ideas
Words that are similar (or related) in meaning should be mapped to vectors (i.e. the "word embeddings") that are also similar in some sense (for instance, their cosine similarity should be high). For instance, the words "man" and "boy" should be mapped to vectors that are similar.
These word embeddings are learned (rather than hard-coded or manually specified) given the data
The size of the word embeddings is a hyper-parameter (this should answer your question!)
To answer your question(s) more directly, the choice of the dimension of the embeddings or the number of "hidden features" (which are both hyper-parameters) was probably more or less arbitrary or based on the instructor's experience. In general, it is difficult to determine the optimal choice of any hyper-parameter. Sometimes you can just use numbers that other people have used in the past and have noticed that work "well enough". If you really want to find more appropriate values of the hyper-parameters, you could use some hyper-parameter optimization technique, such as Bayesian optimization or a simple grid search.
You can find many resources online that explain the concept of "word embeddings" more in detail. For instance