Correct, only when you have Publishing features enabled the following happens:
- Master page defined on the parent site can be inherited by subsites
- Alternate CSS configured on the parent site can be inherited by subsites
If you need to inherit the two and you have Team sites (non-publishing sites) I recommend writing simple event handler that sets the master page and CSS stylesheet of a subsite after it has been created (WebProvisioned). Example here.
Please note that you will not probably be able to inherit the parent's master/CSS, but you are setting those to be the same as the parent site has at that time. This means that when you change the master/CSS of the parent this change will not be reflected automatically to the subsites.
Workaround is to modify the actual master/CSS and not change it to some other file OR re-activate the feature that loops through all subsites and resets the master/CSS to be the same as parent site.