was it used on older systems also
Just for curiosity: some kind of key combination to reset had other computers (non PC) too, e.g. the CPC6128 had Control + Shift + ESC.
Otherwise, Wikipedia has an interesting insight:
The soft reboot function via keyboard was originally designed by David Bradley. Bradley, as the chief engineer of the IBM PC project and developer of the machine's ROM-BIOS, had originally used Ctrl+Alt+Esc, but found it was too easy to bump the left side of the keyboard and reboot the computer accidentally. According to his own account, Mel Hallerman, who was the chief programmer of the project, therefore suggested switching the key combination to Ctrl+Alt+Del as a safety measure, a combination impossible to press with just one hand on the original IBM PC keyboard.
The feature was originally conceived only as a development feature for internal use and not intended to be used by end users, as it triggered the reboot without warning or further confirmation—it was meant to be used by people writing programs or documentation so that they could reboot their computers without powering them down. Bill Gates (former Microsoft CEO) remembered it as "just something we were using in development and it wouldn't be available elsewhere". The feature, however, was detailed in IBM's technical reference documentation to the original PC and thereby revealed to the general public.
Bradley is also known for his good-natured jab at Gates at the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the IBM PC on August 8, 2001 at The Tech Museum: "I have to share the credit. I may have invented it, but I think Bill made it famous."